State legislature passes bill that would ban pre-employment cannabis tests

A bill that would eliminate cannabis tests as a condition of employment has passed the state legislature and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for his signature.

Senate Bill 5123, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), would only apply to pre-employment cannabis testing. Employers would still be able to maintain their drug-free workplace policies.

The bill would not apply to applicants in the airline and aerospace industries or applicants for positions requiring federal government background investigations or security clearances.

“It comes down to discriminating against people who use cannabis,” said Keiser, chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. “For people using a legal substance, having a pre-employment test like this is just plain unfair, and we should stop it.”

If signed by Gov. Inslee, the bill will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

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