In two weeks voters in the nation's capital will vote on a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The latest polls show over 70 percent of likely voters favor the initiative.
However, the new law will provide no job protection for those tokers whose workplace prohibits pot use amongst their employees. Making pot legal will not negate employers the right to fire any of their employees who test positive for the devil weed in random drug testing.
The number of federal employees, military members, and employees who work in industries that have a high sensitivity to drug use represent an enormous percentage of the denizens of D.C., and they'll continue to be prohibited from partaking.
This means, in the District of Columbia, pot will be legal for the unemployed, elected officials, and that's about it.
CBS radio in D.C. reports on the wrinkle in the law that many find to be an unfair double-standard:
"D.C. is basically legalizing pot for the unemployed," says Ari Wilkenfeld, a D.C. based civil rights attorney.
Wilkenfeld says since federal law still considers pot an illegal drug, employers are on firm ground.
"Unless the D.C. Council passes legislation protecting citizens who smoke marijuana from discrimination, any employer can fire someone," Wilkenfeld says.
Of course, the D.C. Council hears the word "discrimination" uttered from a civil rights attorney and they respond like Pavlov's dogs without the decorum. Sure enough, D.C. Council Member Jack Evans is already preparing some "tweaking" of the law so some down-trodden stoners in Washington can keep their jobs despite their employers' desire to have basic drug-free standards at their workplace.
Evans plans to pass a law that would protect an employee’s right to smoke pot. However, he concedes that a line must be drawn somewhere. "There may be some jobs that testing positive for marijuana is inappropriate and should remain an offense where they could be dismissed."
By the way, one of those jobs in D.C. that does not have routine drug testing to screen out pot smokers: Elected officials.