AB 2188: Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis.

 With fall in full swing, it means legislative changes that affect small business owners and those they serve. At New Frontier, we help walk our customers through these changes as a part of our 4M consulting process. This week, we’re highlighting changes coming to wage and hour laws, which go into effect as soon as next year. In this post, let’s talk about SB 553 and the new workplace safety laws that are going into effect in 2024.

We’re here to help you navigate these legal changes and stay compliant with California law. As new laws are introduced and passed, we will be sure to update you on what you need to know.

What is AB 2188?

AB 2188 has been in the works for over a year now, and is set to go into effect January 1, 2024. Signed by Governor Newsom September 2022, AB 2188 will change testing requirements for employers who drug test employees for marijuana.

 Employers have lots of questions about this bill, and how it will play itself out is still largely unknown.

AB 2188 – An Excerpt

An excerpt from the law reads:

This bill would also make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, except for preemployment drug screening, as specified, or upon an employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.

Blog Graphic cover photo AB 2188 overview

Are there any Exemptions?

As noted in this article, there are several important exemptions and points to understand.

There are a few important exemptions to this new law. Specifically, AB 2188 exempts employees in the construction and building industries and those hired for positions that require federal background and clearance checks. Notably, AB 2188 does not exempt employees in other safety-sensitive industries such as transportation, health and services, manufacturing, and agriculture.  


Implementing AB 2188

Moving forward, California employers will need to:

– Demonstrate that any alleged cannabis use impacted the employee on the job

– Any employers introducing new policies will need to be in line with the new legislation,

– Employers will want to request meet and consult with their departments to ensure policies are in line with the updated statute. 

– As always, be sure to consult legal council.

You can read more about upcoming changes by reading other articles we’ve written:

Get the latest on the New Frontier Blog.


More Changes Coming

More changes are coming to California law. We will be highlighting these changes throughout the rest of the year to help business owners get prepared for the road ahead. Stay tuned for more legislative updates. As always, if you have any questions, please be sure to contact us. We help your small business navigate the complexity of the HR landscape in California so you can sleep soundly and focus on what matters.