Cannabis testing prohibition begins January 1

Dec 21, 2023
Written by WR Communications


Effective January 1, 2024, a new law passed under SSB 5123 will prohibit employers from discriminating against a person during the hiring process if the decision is based upon the person’s use of cannabis outside of work and away from the workplace. Additionally, an employer-required drug screening test that detects cannabis metabolites in the person’s hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids cannot be used in the hiring decision.

The new law contains several important exemptions and conditions:

  • Employers can continue to deny hiring based on scientifically valid drug screening that screens for other drugs.
  • Employers can still test for controlled substances, including cannabis, for post-accident reviews or suspicion of impairment while on the job.
  • The new law does not affect the rights or obligation of an employer to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace, nor the ability to enforce against impairment while on the job.

Other job-related exceptions to cannabis testing during hiring:

  • The new law provides numerous exceptions on hiring for law enforcement, first responders, corrections offices, aerospace, and firefighters.
  • It does not apply to any other safety-sensitive position for which impairment while working presents a substantial risk of death. The employer must identify safety-sensitive positions before applicants submit an employment application.

Finally, the new law does not preempt state or federal law requiring an applicant to be tested for controlled substances as a condition of receiving employment, receiving federal funding or licensing-related benefits, or as required by federal contract.


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