The weeks leading up to 2020 held some unexpected news for cannabis.
A new Nevada-cannabis bill took effect on the first of the month. From this point on, the state has banned employers from denying candidates employment solely based on drug screening for cannabis consumption.
A First for Cannabis in the Workplace
The beginning of the year marked the first day of assembly bill 132 being in full-effect. After a long debate and a hefty amount of amendments, the state approved the bill in the summer of 2019. Going forward it will treats cannabis more like alcohol in the work setting. This is a step in the right direction but, the bill doesn’t rid cannabis of all its barriers.
After recreational legalization, some found it harder to find suitable applicants. Not being able to pass a drug screening for cannabis ruled out a lot of candidates. Even overqualified candidates are kept from jobs as the state’s recreational cannabis hit a crossroads with drug-free workplaces.
As the state has operated with a recreational market for some years, continued drug screening for cannabis has come under fire. Consumers argued that alcohol was acceptable despite it being the cause for more accidents.
“Anybody over the age of 21 can possess or purchase cannabis. They should not be failing a drug test for Cannabis as a condition of employment,” Sturtsman said. “If somebody wants to enjoy Cannabis at home, in the comfort of their home, it is completely legal in the State of Nevada. They shouldn’t be excluded from a job.”–KSNV, News 3 LV
Some jobs will be exempted from AB 132, considering they require the use of a motor vehicle, heavy equipment, and etc. Additionally, employers still reserve the right to test those who fail a screening. These situations will be under certain guidelines with specific stipulations. AB 132 only applies to test for employment and does not apply to regular testing, if applicable. For the most part, however, workplaces in Nevada are tossing aside the expensive practice.
Space Weed and Illinois’ $11 Million Week
Illinois opened its first day of recreational cannabis on January 1st. The state exceeded expectations, selling nearly $11 million in cannabis during their first week of sales. With the city’s splurge on cannabis, however, comes some common problems for the new market. A few among the 37 dispensaries have begun temporarily shutting down due to product shortages. The issue is nothing new but, frustrating for newly legal states nonetheless.
Only with time will the issue of additional shop licensing and extended hours to sell remedy this. For now, the state is doing well with what they have. As they join 10 other states with recreational cannabis, Illinois is off to a good start.
Everyone’s favorite tech mogul and ‘part-time-cannabis-consumer, Elon Musk, is the focus of our other cannabis news. The Tesla founder wants to send 480 hemp plant cell cultures to the International Space Station (ISS) to study. The experiment will take place in March of 2020. The station will observe how radiation and microgravity affect the gene expression of the plants and/or cause the cell cultures to mutate.
The goal will be to research how different types of plants respond and adapt to the environment. Over the course of the 30-day experiment, the plants will be temperature-regulated. Among those at the agricultural company overseeing the project, they’re starting with scientific support that plants experience mutations in space.
“These are big ideas we’re pursuing and there’s a massive opportunity to bring to market new plants that can better adapt to drought and cold conditions.”-Peter McCullagh, CEO of SpaceCells USA Inc.
Hopefully, the experiment will prove plants are resilient enough to survive and thrive. Regardless, their studies can only strengthen the argument for hemp’s versatility. This, along with the ban of pre-employment drug screening for cannabis is starting 2020 off with a hit.