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DC Provides Job Protections For Marijuana Users

DC’s law prohibits employers refusing to hire, firing, suspending, failing to promote, or demoting based on Cannabis use


new law offers adult Cannabis users broad employment protections in the nation’s capitol, Washington, DC, reports Forbes. The Marijuana Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 prohibits employers from adversely affecting the employment of any person who uses marijuana, including when they test positive for the herb. The law will become effective on July 13, 2023. 

DC’s law will prohibit employers from refusing to hire a job candidate or firing, suspending, failing to promote, or demoting an employee, or otherwise penalizing an individual based on their use of marijuana. That includes their status as a medical marijuana patient, or testing positive for marijuana absent on-the-job impairment. 

While the law will impact most employers in the District, it identifies several exceptions that permit employers to deny employment to candidates or employees.

Those exceptions include, within safety-sensitive occupations as defined in the law. The law also has exceptions if employers are required by federal law, regulations, contract, or agreement to prohibit marijuana use. Also included as an exception is if the employee used or possessed marijuana while at the worksite or on duty.

The law also excludes Employees of the federal government and the District’s court from the protections. However, the new law does offer protections for other government employees within DC.

Employers Required To Notify Workers Of Their New Rights

The law permits employers to adopt a “reasonable drug-free workplace or employment policy. That encompasses post-accident or reasonable suspicion drug testing of employees in safety-sensitive positions. 

Within 60 days of the law becoming effective next year, employers will have several obligations.

The law requires DC employers to notify workers of their new rights. That includes if an employer has designated a worker’s role as safety-sensitive and the employer’s protocols for drug testing. The notice must be provided to all new hires upon employment and to employees annually.

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