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Nevada bans rejecting job applicants over marijuana use

Sen. Tom Daschle full interview
  • Nevada has passed the first statewide law in the nation that bars employers from rejecting a job applicant because of a failed marijuana test.
  • The new law exempts firefighters, emergency medical workers and other public-safety jobs.
  • Nevada is one of 31 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, which remains illegal on the federal level.

Two years after legalizing recreational marijuana, Nevada is telling job seekers: Light 'em up!

Starting next year, employers won't be allowed to reject potential job seekers because they failed a test for marijuana use. According to a new law signed this month, an employer can't "fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana."

In addition, workers who fail a drug test during their first month at the job will be able to challenge the finding by paying for a second test. The law leaves out public safety jobs, such as firefighters, medical technicians and jobs that require drug testing under federal rules.

"As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it's important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans," Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said upon signing the law, according to USA Today.

New York City barred pre-employment drug testing in April. Maine forbids discriminating against potential employment based on drug use, although it doesn't have specific laws regarding drug testing.

Nevada legalized the sale of recreational marijuana to those 21 and over in 2016. Nine other states and the District of Columbia have approved the use or sale of recreational cannabis, while 22 others have permitted medical marijuana products.

The substance remains illegal on the federal level, and is the most commonly detected illicit drug in employment drug testing, according to Quest Diagnostics. Traces of the drug can persist in someone's body for as long as 30 days after the last time they used it, some studies have found.

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