Unions Asking SF to Ease Pot Laws

Job protection for medical marijuana users

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A plumber, who uses medical marijuana, was not allowed to work on a project. That prompted union officials to seek a deal with the city and its rules.

    San Francisco is known for its progressive values -- but now it must decide if medical marijuana users should have protections in city jobs if it fails drug testing at their workplace.

    The San Francisco Examiner is reporting a top boss for the UA Local 38 plumbers union is in talks with the city's Public Utilities Commission to address the issue. This all started back in January when a plumber, who is a medical marijuana user, was not allowed to work on the City's $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program after failing a drug test. The union is now asking city leaders to change wording in the job agreement, allowing medical marijuana users to have protections from drug testing.

    A committee will take up the issue next month.  Both sides are working on a change to the labor agreement.  Meanwhile, union officials are also hoping to amend the City's substance abuse policy, which would apply to all trade members working on the water project.

    There have been several attempts to change state laws which would protect medical marijuana users at their workplace. In 1996 voters approved Proposition 215 which allowed people to have medical marijuana prescriptions. But a key measure to protect workers from being fired after failing a drug test was struck down by the state's Supreme Court in 2008.  State Senator Mark Leno tried to overturn the decision, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.