Adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis are one in the same in Washington, D.C., since Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a law earlier this month to allow all adults 21 and older to self-prescribe medical cannabis and obtain a medical card with or without a doctor’s recommendation, and now the District is protecting workers who use cannabis legally.
Bowser signed the Cannabis Employment Protections and Amendment Act of 2022 into law July 13 to prohibit employers from firing workers for failed cannabis tests, as well as bar employers from firing or refusing to hire workers due to their use of medical or adult-use cannabis.
The law includes exemptions for employers acting under federal guidelines, as well as for employees who consume cannabis at work or while performing work-related duties. It also does not cover employees in “safety-sensitive” occupations, including police, security guards, construction workers, health care employees, those operating heavy machinery and those who work for power and gas companies.
The law also exempts employees of the federal government and D.C.’s courts, although other D.C. government employees are covered.
With Bowser’s signature, the law is set to take effect after a 60-day congressional review period and after it has been published in the District of Columbia Register.
At that time, employers will have 60 days to notify their employees of their new rights under the legislation and whether they are considered safety-sensitive workers who are excluded from the law.
Employers that violate the law will be subject to up to a $5,000 fine and will also be required to pay the employee’s lost wages and attorney’s fees.