Calif. Chamber of Commerce Fights Pot Proposition

The California Chamber of Commerce disagrees that Prop. 19’s effects would be minimal. Last week, the employer lobbying group began airing radio ads in Southern California detailing its opposition.

“It creates a whole new protected class of employees and ties employers’ hands in maintaining a drug and alcohol-free workplace,” said Erika Frank, general counsel for the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento.

“It’s uncharted territory,” she said. “There are a lot of ambiguities the initiative creates that unfortunately won’t be resolved until employers are sued.”

“The concern is being able to manage marijuana use and employees showing up to work high on marijuana,” Frank added.

Employers today can act upon their workplace policies and take disciplinary action on the spot if they suspect a worker is high on drugs or alcohol, she said. But Prop. 19 would change that by requiring that a worker have “actual impairment” before employers can take action, and that definition is unclear, she said. “An accident may have to happen before any action can be taken.”

Prop. 19 also would prevent employers from using a positive result on a marijuana drug test against a job candidate in the hiring process, Frank said.

Psychemedics Corporation