Update: Washington Bill, with Limited Exceptions, Blocks Pre-Employment Cannabis Testing Beginning in 2024

Signed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 9, 2023, Senate Bill 5123 prohibits employers from cannabis testing as a condition of employment, except in certain situations, within the State of Washington.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Washington in 2012, creating a conflict between employers' hiring practices and employees' legal right to use cannabis for the past 11 years.

The bill will make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential employee for off-the-job use detected via nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites, which drug screens can detect anytime within 30 days of use. The bill aims to allow applicants further access to job opportunities unrestricted by past use of cannabis.

The bill provides a few notable exceptions. Marijuana testing is still allowed in the following situations:

  • When performing testing that relies on psychoactive metabolites;
  • When testing for purposes other than pre-employment screening, such as post-accident or reasonable suspicion, in the goal of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
  • Testing for job positions that require a federal background check or security clearance, or jobs with federal funding or federal licensing-related benefits;
  • Job positions in the airline or aerospace industries, as well as firefighters, police, and corrections officers; and
  • Employers performing a DOT drug testing program subject to 49 CFR part 40.

The law applies if a business controls or processes personal data of at least 100,000 Iowa consumers or 25,000 Iowa consumers from which the business derives over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data.

The act will take effect on January 1, 2024.

Source: Senate Bill 5123

Updated: May 12, 2023

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