Cannabis Use - California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (“POST”) Issues Bulletin on Legislative Changes Affecting Selection Standards

On December 7, 2023, POST issued Bulletin No. 2023-67 which addresses recent legislation concerning cannabis use by employees. Effective January 1, 2024, California is amending Government Code section 12954, which prohibits discrimination against a person in hiring, termination, or term or condition of employment for their use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. Governor Newsome signed Senate Bill 700 (2023) into law in October 2023, which amended Government Code section 12954 and will make it unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant relating to their prior use of cannabis. Accordingly, POST has modified the POST Personal History Statement – Peace Officer (2-251) and Personal History Statement – Public Safety Dispatcher (2-255) to remove inquiries concerning a candidate’s prior cannabis use.

Furthermore, Assembly Bill 2188 (2022) provides additional modifications to Government Code section 12954, which also go into effect on January 1, 2024. Specifically,  the provisions of Assembly Bill 2188 pertain to drug screening tests and exempts certain classes of employees in the building and construction trades, but does not exempt safety sensitive positions, including peace officers. Prior to POST’s Bulletin No. 2023-67, many law enforcement agencies questioned whether peace officers may be exempted under Assembly Bill 2188’s broad exemption of “applicants and employees in positions requiring a federal background investigation or clearance.” Although POST’s Bulletin No. 2023-67 does not provide specific guidelines for law enforcement agencies concerning peace officers’ drug testing and/or policies, its statement that “[h]iring agencies will need to determine how to adjust their drug testing and/or policies to meet this new law” indicates that POST is likely taking the position that peace officers are not exempted from this new law.  

As always, please don't hesitate to contact the author of this Alert or your usual AALRR attorney with any questions.

This AALRR posting is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other AALRR publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process. 

© 2023 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

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