Senate Nixes Worker Weed

Oregon lawmakers decided to void State Senator Floyd Prozanski’s effort to protect employees from being fired for off-duty marijuana use. According to Seattle’s CannaLawBlog report, by proposing Senate Bill 301, endorsed by the Oregon Affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Prozanski hoped to prevent workers from being penalized or prevented from being hired if they used medical or recreational cannabis after hours.

He and other proponents of the bill argued that prohibiting pot use, especially for people who use it medically, threatened the individual rights and health of Oregon workers.

SB 301 ultimately failed due to opposition from groups concerned with workplace safety and federal laws. Representatives from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, along with the Oregon Columbia Chapter of Associated General Contractors, provided to the judiciary a written testimony stating that SB 301 would cause legal problems for employers since federal law still prohibits marijuana use.

Both organizations also claimed that since there is currently no reliable way to test for actual marijuana-related impairment— as pot remains in the body for weeks after use— it would be impossible to tell whether workers were getting high on the job or off.

By Kiki Genoa

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