On a typical Friday night in Oregon, you can go home after your work day, buy some legal recreational marijuana at the store, and smoke it in the comfort of your own home. But the following Thursday, you can be fired for failing a drug test from said marijuana. A new senate bill hopes to change that.
Senate Bill 301 seeks to make it illegal for employers to require their employees to stay weed free. The bill states that forcing an employee to keep “from using any substance that is lawful to use in this state is unlawful employment practice,” according to The Oregonian. It doesn’t call out marijuana directly as the motivation for the bill, but it was brought up by the Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee, so the intentions are pretty clear.
Oregon is an “at-will” state, which means that people can be fired for anything that isn’t specifically protected under law. Marijuana falls under that, which means that by at-will rules, “employers may discharge and employee at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all.” A simple drug test can lead to being fired even though marijuana can take weeks to metabolize out of your system. Essentially, people can get fired for marijuana use even when it doesn’t impact their work performance.
This is something that is actually happening. The Oregonian reports an ABC affiliate in Eugene, Oregon, was fired after getting in a minor car accident. She tested positive for marijuana and was terminated.
No one is arguing that people should be able to consume marijuana on the job, or let it get in the way of work. If passed, it would put cannabis use on equal footing with tobacco use. It’s more of an adjustment to accommodate for the way weed moves through the body. Is that really so apprehensible?