Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed a bill to bolster marijuana-related protections for working professionals in the state—effectively codifying an executive order he issued last year.
The legislation from Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R), which was approved by the legislature last month, prohibits regulators from denying or revoking professional certifications, registrations or licenses to people based solely on prior civil or criminal violations over cannabis-related activity that’s been made legal in the state.
If a person’s licensure or certification was previously impacted because of a marijuana issue, that also couldn’t be used as the basis for disciplinary action going forward.
Additionally, the legislation prevents regulators from denying licensing over past cannabis-related professional disciplinary action that occurred anywhere else in the U.S. so long as the violation concerned activity that’s lawful in Colorado, as NewsBreak first reported.
This builds on Polis’s executive order that he signed last year to provide broad professional licensing protections for workers who use marijuana in compliance with state law. That order has also prevented state agencies from assisting in any out-of-state investigations related to lawful cannabis conduct that could result in employment penalties.
The governor said that the policy was especially necessary to avoid deterring qualified individuals from pursuing work in the state and to address workforce shortages.
The new law also prohibits regulators from denying a person professional licensing because of past disciplinary action that occurred anywhere else in the U.S., as long as the conduct in question is legal in Colorado.
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Numerous states have worked to enact worker protections amid the cannabis legalization movement.
For example, California legislators approved a measure this week that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about prior marijuana use.
Michigan officials recently proposed ending pre-employment drug testing for marijuana for most government job applicants, while also giving people who’ve already been penalized over positive THC tests an opportunity to have the sanction retroactively rescinded.
Last month, the governor of Washington State signed a bill into law that will protect workers from facing employment discrimination during the hiring process over their lawful use of marijuana.
That means Washington has joined Nevada in prohibiting discrimination against job applicants for testing positive for marijuana. New York also provides broader employment protections for adults who legally use cannabis during off-hours and away from work.
Four New Jersey police officers are preparing to sue Jersey City after being fired for testing positive for marijuana—despite being protected under the state’s cannabis legalization law and guidance from the state attorney general.
Back in Colorado, Polis also signed a bill last week to create a regulatory framework for legal psychedelics under a voter-approved initiative.
Lawmakers in the state also recently sent the governor legislation that would allow online marijuana sales.
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