Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2008
Source: Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008sANG Newspapers
Author: Josh Richman
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


A new Assembly bill with two Bay Area co-authors seeks to protect
medical-marijuana users' jobs.

AB 2279, introduced Wednesday, would prohibit employment
discrimination against those who use marijuana as medicine in
compliance with state law away from the workplace. It would leave
intact already-existing provisions barring consumption in the
workplace, and would protect employers from liability by carving out
an exception for safety-sensitive jobs.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, had vowed to introduce such a
bill last month after the state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that an
employer can fire a worker solely because he or she uses medical
marijuana outside the workplace.

"AB 2279 is merely an affirmation of the intent of the voters and the
legislature that medical marijuana patients need not be unemployed to
benefit from their medicine," Leno said in a news release issued Thursday.

The bill is co-authored by Assemblywomen Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley;
Patty Berg, D-Eureka; and Lori Saldana, D-San Diego. It's sponsored by
Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit which
had argued for the plaintiff in the state Supreme Court case decided
in January.

"Despite the ill-conceived ruling by the California Supreme Court, the
intent of state legislatures has been to recognize the civil rights of
patients and to offer them reasonable protections," ASA spokesman Kris
Hermes said Thursday.

ASA says companies that have fired medical-marijuana users, threatened
their jobs or denied them jobs include Costco, UPS, Foster Farms
Dairy, DirecTV, the San Joaquin Courier, Power Auto Group and several
construction companies, hospitals, and trade union employers.

Similar bills have been introduced in Oregon and Hawaii.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek