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An Oregon Senate Bill is trying to Stop Companies from having a Blanket Ban on Marijuana Users

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An Oregon Senate Bill is trying to Stop Companies from having a Blanket Ban on Marijuana Users

Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet

Marijuana-in-the-workplaceA bill introduced on January 7th in the Oregon senate would mean companies can’t not hire if pre-employment drug tests for cannabis use was positive or a company could not fire a non-safety sensitive function employee for at-home casual use of marijuana – but companies could still require treatment that the employee pays for.

Senate Bill 301 states, “It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to require, as a condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using a substance that is lawful to use under the laws of this state during nonworking hours, except when the restriction relates to:

  • A bona fide occupational qualification; or
  • The performance of work while impaired

However, this would not apply if an applicable collective bargaining agreement prohibits off-duty use of the substance. So if it passes, be sure to check with your union before smoking marijuana.

The bill was put forth by the Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee which is seeking to address that in a state where cannabis consumption is legal, it is also legal to fire an employee who fails a test for cannabis.

According to, this bill would make marijuana use legally similar to tobacco use, meaning as long as consumption doesn’t happen during work hours or interfere with work duties, it would be illegal to fire someone or not hire someone based on casual use.

The bill does not acknowledge the effects marijuana has on the body and how this could affect workplace safety.

Recently, American researchers by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finished a comprehensive review, for the first time in decades, of 10,000 studies conducted since 1999 of marijuana research.

According to the report, cannabis has legitimate medicinal benefits for a variety of ailments, but also has been shown as a contributor to certain mental health issues, has a role as a gateway drug to some degree, and, now common knowledge, has substantive evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.

In addition to this, the DEA has decided to keep marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance. In response to two petitions, DEA requested a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which was conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in consultation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Based on the legal standards in the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains a schedule I controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.

This bill has yet to have a hearing and is in the early stages before being passed. There could be amendments or could be killed anytime. However, the bill would be effective immediately on passage.

If the bill passes, companies would need a separate drug testing policy for staff that are not in safety-sensitive roles. This separate policy could still test for the other top drugs such as Meth and Cocaine, just not for Cannabis.

To learn more about what your company’s drug policy should state, visit our website or call us at 503-479-6082.

31 Jan, 17

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