Bill could block cannabis drug testing – The Legislature is considering a bill, SB 5517, that prohibits an employer from refusing to hire a prospective employee and discharging a current employee, with certain exceptions, due to a positive cannabis test.
AGC is opposed to the bill. “In all industries we have safety sensitive tasks, however all aspects of construction bear a considerable amount of risk, adding potential impairment to that is a recipe for disaster,” said AGC Director of Safety Mandi Kime in recent testimony before the Senate Labor Committee. “A bill like this would also makes it impossible for many employers to manage a drug-free workplace program, generally agreed to between employers and labor, to offer a safe environment.”
Versions of this bill have been introduced, and failed to pass, in the Legislature over the last few years. One of the main issues is the fact that current drug tests can measure cannabis in the blood stream but can’t adequately measure impairment. AGC argues that the drug test question should prioritize safety. “We do not have an accurate method to test for impairment, just a legal limit in the blood stream to be considered under the influence,” said Kime. “The true danger in allowing a bill like this to pass is that workers that are using psychotropic forms of cannabis would then be under the influence and exposing their fellow workers to potentially impaired judgement.”
For more information, contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood.