In November 2016, California joined seven other states and Washington DC in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults. Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years and over.

Will Prop 64 Affect Your Drug and Alcohol Policies?

Prop 64 maintains the status quo for employers seeking to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace. In other words, employer policies related to drug possession, use and impairment as well as testing are not compromised under Prop 64. Prop 64 states that it is meant to “allow public and private employers to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to marijuana.”

Review Your Policies and Procedures

Employers should use the passing of the proposition to review and update their policies on marijuana, drugs, and alcohol in the workplace. If your establishment conducts pre-employment drug testing, inform all applicants of not only your drug and alcohol policies but your marijuana-related policies. California employers may deny employment if the drug test comes back positive for marijuana, even if the applicant was legally using it under California’s Compassionate Use Act. After establishing these policies, it is important to update your employee handbooks and clearly communicate and train your staff on these policies and procedures. Please contact your HR attorney in assistance with updating your establishment’s employee handbook.

Prop 64 and Current Law

Under Proposition 64, it is still illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana in places where smoking tobacco is already not allowed. California prohibits smoking tobacco and marijuana at the workplace for all employees and all enclosed workplaces. Employers can also prohibit smoking within 20 feet of the building. The use of any type of tobacco and marijuana are prohibited in any areas where food is prepared, served, or stored by the California Health Department.

For guidance on new laws affecting the restaurant industry and assistance in finding an HR attorney, please contact us.