South Dakota revises medical cannabis job protections

people waiting for a job interview

Legislative changes in South Dakota

In a significant legislative move, South Dakota's House and Senate have passed SB 12, a bill that revises employment protections for individuals registered as medical cannabis patients within the state. This development marks a pivotal shift from the comprehensive ballot initiative language approved by voters in 2020, which initially granted these protections.

The Impact of SB 12 on employment

SB 12 introduces provisions that allow employers to dismiss or not hire individuals for "safety-sensitive jobs" if they test positive for THC metabolites during drug screenings. Furthermore, the bill restricts the ability of patients to seek legal recourse for wrongful termination if they fail an employer-mandated drug test. This is noteworthy because cannabis urinalysis tests can detect inert THC metabolites, which may linger in the system for weeks or even months after use.

Support and opposition

The bill has garnered support from several key industry groups, including the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota, the South Dakota Retailers Association, and the South Dakota Home Builders Association. These endorsements highlight the business community's interest in maintaining stringent drug-free workplace policies, especially for roles deemed safety-sensitive.

Anticipated effects of the legislation

With over 8,500 South Dakotans registered to access medical cannabis products, the implications of SB 12 are far-reaching. The bill now awaits the signature of Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who is expected to approve it into law. This legislative action underscores the ongoing debate between ensuring workplace safety and respecting the rights of medical cannabis patients.

Comparison with other states

It's important to note that the majority of states with medical cannabis access laws have established employment protections for patients. Additionally, nearly half of the states that have legalized cannabis for adult use, including California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, have implemented workplace protections. These measures limit employers' ability to test for or penalize employees for their cannabis use outside of work hours.

  • Exploring the balance between workplace safety and patient rights
  • The role of industry support in shaping cannabis legislation
  • The evolving landscape of cannabis laws and employment

The passage of SB 12 in South Dakota represents a critical moment in the intersection of cannabis legislation and employment law. As the state prepares for the Governor's decision, the broader implications for medical cannabis patients and the workforce remain a topic of significant discussion and analysis.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

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