SB 379A Prohibits marijuana testing

VOTE: NO – Died in Committee  
Status (overview) of bill: bill prohibits employers from conditioning employment on forbidding use of marijuana or any lawful substance outside of work hours.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
Gives employees the right to use marijuana if not impaired at work. Marijuana can stay in the system for around a month and there is no test that can easily determine whether someone is impaired, or just used the substance a few days ago while at home. The public has no assurance when letting repair people into their home that they are unimpaired.

Limited Government
Under ORS 659A.315, an employer may not prohibit an employee or prospective employee from using tobacco products during nonworking hours. However, an employer can prohibit the off-duty use of other products legal to Oregon, including alcohol and marijuana. This is a safety and productivity issue. Many Oregon employers prohibit marijuana use. Workers can be fired for testing positive for marijuana. The proposed law revision would make it illegal to require employees to refrain from any substance legal in Oregon as a condition of employment. It would continue to be illegal to be impaired at work, but that is difficult to test for. With all the exception, why put the rest of employers in a difficult situation?

Local Control
Counties could be sued by those who disagree with the new law, and City County Insurance Services estimates that more than $1 million in litigation costs would arise each year under this bill.

Free Markets
Some jobs may qualify for exemption if restriction relates to a bona fide occupational qualification relating to health and safety; the business is a federal contractor or employer receiving grants subject to the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act; the employer is required by federal law or regulation to drug test employees or potential employees; the employee is subject to a collective bargaining agreement that prohibits use; the employee fits within the statutory definition of public safety personnel, emergency service provider, or licensed health care professional; the employer/employee operates a public transit vehicle or taxi; or performs job functions that may involve a risk of injury to others, including the operation of heavy machinery or equipment. Employers are still able to impose restrictions that relate to an employees performance of work while impaired, and since it is difficult to test for and it can stay in the system up to a month, it sets up a catch 22 situation for employers.


  1. Christopher Knight says:

    no new regulation . this is a no go bill . vote no . employers should remain free to regulate their industry as they will . here’s the layman’s simple take ; you pour my coffee I don’t care what you smoked yesterday , but you’re pouring my concrete or engineering my building or trying my case in court or performing my surgery , I would prefer the worker who doesn’t smoke . as a medicinal use user myself I would abstain if I were employed to think critically or work in any environment where exacting attention was required for mine or others safety .

  2. David T Eckhardt says:

    Is the world spinning backward? I would never hire anyone who could not pass a drug test. Why would you want a possibly impaired person on your payroll? The liability insurance rates will go through the roof along with workman’s comp. Just as a matter of common sense this doesn’t pass the smell test. I am amazed that there is someone in Salem with a low enough understanding of how things work to even consider such an ignorant regulation.

    • dbleiler says:

      Good points David, I will add them to my testimony.

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