Nevada lawmakers prohibit employers from denying applicants who fail marijuana drug screenings

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Employers in Nevada soon will no longer be able to turn down job applicants who test positive for traces of marijuana during drug screenings.

Lawmakers approved a bill last week that made Nevada the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating against prospective employees for marijuana use in a state where recreational pot is legal.

"I don't condone marijuana use," Democratic Assemblymember Dina Neal, who co-sponsored the bill, told The Associated Press. “But I don't want unfairness and discrimination. We were saying marijuana dispensaries can sell to people, but then the people couldn't work. We had to do something."

Supporters of the bill argued that even the slightest trace of the drug could show in blood or urine tests weeks or even months after ingesting it during off-work hours, something Neal called “a moral and social dilemma.”

Bill No. 132 also includes a measure that would allow anyone who does test positive to challenge the results and take a second test 30 days after the initial screening. This would be at the expense of the applicant.

The new measure, which was signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 6, does contain an exception for those employers seeking applicants for safety postings.

This includes firefighters, EMT or any job that would require employees to operate a motor vehicle.

Supporters of the bill fear, however, that this loophole may be exploited.

"I'm hoping that it's not abused and they're not going to say a secretary is a safety position," Neal said.

The new law is set to take effect on Jan. 1. Nevada first legalized recreational pot for those over 21 in 2016.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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