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ca senate bill 129 MM antidiscrimination


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Feb 22, 2010
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Lawmakers Must Vote This Month Re: Medical Marijuana Anti-Discrimination
Tell Your State Senator to Support California's Patients!
Legislation that would make it unlawful “for an employer to discriminate against” persons who are authorized under state law to use medical marijuana will be voted on before January 20, 2012.

Senate Bill 129 declares it unlawful under state law “for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person's status as a qualified patient or a positive drug test for marijuana,” if the drug test result is indicative of previous, off-the-job marijuana use (e.g., a positive test for marijuana metabolites on a urine screen).

On Wednesday, April 6, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure by a 3-2 vote. You can read NORML’s testimony in favor of the measure here. However, in June the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Mark Leno, asked that the measure be held over until January in order to afford additional time to garner political support.

SB 129 would authorize a person who has suffered discrimination in violation of the law to “institute and prosecute a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, reasonable attorney's fees and costs, any other appropriate equitable relief, as specified, and any other relief the court may deem proper.”

Senate Bill 129 responds to a California Supreme Court ruling (Ross v. Ragingwire Telecom), which held that employers could fire employees for their off-the-job marijuana use — even if they were state-authorized patients who were not impaired at work.

A similar version of SB 129 was approved by the California Legislature in 2008, but vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You can learn more about this measure and other pending marijuana law reform efforts in California at California NORML. You can urge your state Senator to support SB 129 by entering your zip code below.

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