New California Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Cannabis Use

A new California law, effective January 1, 2024, makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person because of the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.

The law also makes it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis. Information about a person’s prior cannabis use obtained from the person’s criminal history, however, is exempt from the restriction if the employer is permitted to consider or inquire about that information under a specified provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other state or federal law.

The law does not allow an employee to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job, or affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.