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Washington pre-employment cannabis test bill heads to governor


A bill that would prohibit employers in Washington state from discriminating against potential job applicants based on the lawful use of marijuana is now in the hands of Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration.

Washington lawmakers sent Senate Bill 5123 to Mr. Inslee’s desk Monday, although it was not clear whether the governor would sign or veto the legislation.

The bill would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants by banning pre-employment drug screenings that look for evidence of cannabis use.

Washington is one of 22 states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Delaware recently became the latest state to legalize, albeit without the signature of its governor.

While the Washington measure would prohibit employers from basing initial hiring decisions on past cannabis use, it still allows employers to have policies in place allowing for a drug-free workplace.

The bill would not apply to applicants seeking federal government jobs, law enforcement and other first responder positions, and other “safety-sensitive positions for which impairment while working presents a substantial risk of death.”

It would also not apply to the airline and aerospace industries.