Can A Nevada Employer Discriminate For Marijuana Use?
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Can A Nevada Employer Discriminate For Marijuana Use?

The use of marijuana in Nevada is legal for both recreational and medical purposes.  There are numerous regulations surrounding its use as far as sale, and the amount that you are legally allowed to possess at any one point.  For medicinal purposes a person holding a medical card can possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana.  For recreational purposes a person holding a legal United States identification card can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.  You are allowed to use that marijuana in a private residence without worrying about being arrested.  You’re not allowed to use marijuana in public spaces or in your car, but the laws surrounding its legal use are very much like the laws that pertain to alcohol.  Only in licensed dispensary is allowed to sell marijuana, and there are very specific of regulations regarding growing it for your own personal use.  For the majority of people who either live in Las Vegas or visit the city, the only legalities at you have to concern yourself with our how much you can purchase and where you can use it.  The medicinal use of marijuana has been legal since 2000, and recreational cannabis use was passed in 2017.  The legal sale of marijuana in Nevada began on July 1, 2017.

As with any new situation where something that was once illegal is now made legal, there are many questions surrounding what can and cannot be done.  One of the biggest questions is if employers are allowed to discriminate against employees who legally use marijuana.  The concerns are justified.  Many employees know that their employers frown upon drug use, and consider marijuana to be a drug.  Many employers also utilize random drug tests for both the new applications as well as existing employees.  These random drug tests will detect the use of marijuana, and many employees are now concerned if they can be fired if they test positive.  There is a stigma that surrounds cannabis use even though it is perfectly legal.  This is why democratic governor Steve Sisolak signed the Assembly Bill 132 into law.  The bill was introduced in the Nevada Assembly in February and was passed by a vote of 33 to 8 on April 23, 2019.  The state senate then passed the bill by a margin of 12 to 8 on May 24 of the same year. Sisolak signed it into law, and it will go into effect next year.  This law makes it illegal for employers to deny employment to job applicants based solely on legal marijuana use.  While there are still plenty of employers who feel the utilization of marijuana should be a criterion for denying employment, this law makes it illegal for them to use marijuana as a strike against an employment application.  In the future, if a potential employee feels that they were discriminated against specifically due to their legal marijuana use, they will have the courts at their disposal to prove their case.  Employers should be careful to not utilize legal marijuana as the sole factor to denying employment.  It also must be noted that this does not change the fact that employers are allowed to do random drug testing of existing employees.  They are also allowed to have policies in place prohibiting the use of marijuana by their employees.  Employers should take careful steps to update all employee manuals regarding their position, and make sure that all employees understand these positions.  While employment cases regarding marijuana are a specialized aspect of the practice of law, more obvious infractions regarding marijuana use should be immediately presented to a Las Vegas marijuana lawyer.