Would you hire this guy?
(Via Wesley M.)
Probably not. But according to a new analysis by the California Chamber of Commerce, if Proposition 19 passes and he shows up for a job interview, has all the right qualifications, and is the best man for the job, you’d have to hire him, regardless of his apparent fondness for marijuana.
According to Cal Chamber’s brief (pdf), published late last week, Proposition 19 would wreak havoc on California workplaces. Among the issues they anticipate:
- “Employers would have to permit to employees to smoke marijuana at work.
- Employers would lose millions in valuable federal contracts and grants because they would be unable to comply with federal laws outlawing marijuana use.
- Employers would not be able to make workplace decisions based on marijuana use.
- Employers would have to provide a reasonable accommodation to marijuana users.
- Employers would be required to pay for marijuana-related accidents through workers’ compensation insurance premiums and liability to third-parties.”
Roger Salazar of No On Proposition 19, explained on KPCC’s AirTalk that Cal Chamber and other anti-legalization folks are concerned about the following passage of the measure:
“No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this Act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301 of this Act. Provided however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected.”
The problem, Salazar said, is that it’d be tough to prove that marijuana directly affects or would directly affect a person’s job performance. He said the initiative also “creates confusion” about whether or not drug testing for marijuana would be allowed for jobs that are funded by federal money and require such testing. Attorney general candidates Republican Steve Cooley and Democrat Kamala Harris, who cosigned the official rebuttal to Proposition 19 have put forth similar arguments.
Dan Rush, director with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in Oakland, who also appeared on AirTalk, called the Chamber’s claims “preposterous” and said the report was designed to bring about a “dramatic response.” He said that employers will be able to respond to marijuana use much as they do now. If federal funding requires a clean drug test, that’s enough of a reason for an employer to deny a marijuana user a job, he said. If a job requires operating a motor vehicle or machinery, then a person using medical marijuana would not be right for the job, Rush said. As for smoking in the workplace, not likely, he said. The proposition calls for no smoking of cannabis in public places, excepting certain exceptions for bars that might want to serve the drug.
What would actually happen should Proposition 19 pass? Hard to say–such is the beast of the proposition. I’ve got a query in to the Legislative Analyst’s Office to see if any of these issues came up in their analysis of the proposition. In court, the intent of a ballot initiative’s authors is what usually reigns. And it seems to me that while vague, the intent of the initiative is to have employers retain their ability to comply with federal funding requirements and as with alcohol, for employers to be able to decide for themselves whether they’ll allow marijuana on the premises.