It goes by a lot of names: Trees, Weed, Wisdom Weed, Whacky Tabacky, Pot, Grass, Reefer, Ganja, Herb, Chronic, and more. But “cannabis” is the legal term for recreational marijuana in California, where its been legalized for both adult-use and medical use. In fact, California laws are some of the most relaxed laws in the nation with regard to cannabis use.

While you do have to be 21 or older to possess, purchase, or use recreational cannabis, there are very few restrictions as long as cannabis is consumed as outlined in the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Here’s an important employment rights question: What happens if you use cannabis legally, and get fired unfairly? Clearly, as the laws continue to change, legal users need to know their rights.

Okay, marijuana is legal… but can I get fired for using it?

Several states—including California—have passed laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. However, these laws generally do not protect employees from being fired due to their off-duty marijuana use. In fact, many of these laws expressly state that they do not affect an employer’s right to continue to enforce zero-tolerance workplace drug policies.

So what is the simple answer to the above question? It all depends on where you work. Even Elon Musk knows that!

  • Can you hang out with co-workers on Friday night and smoke some weed?
  • Can you eat an edible after a long day at work?
  • Can you puff on a vape pen on your lunch hour?
  • What about being drug tested?

The answers to these questions are changing as fast as the marijuana laws are changing. In California, there are no workplace provisions protecting the rights of medical marijuana patients. In fact, there are no laws requiring accommodation for medicating on the job or protection from termination.

Bottom-line: it’s important to stay tuned here as Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights continue to study and report on the changing landscape.


Because California is an “at-will” employment state (employers are free to terminate employees at any time) employees think that they have no rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learn more about your employee rights. Contact us today.

Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With more than forty remote attorneys, LFECR is prepared to work on behalf of their clients anywhere in California.

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