Oakland City Council votes to end hiring discrimination based on past cannabis use

FILE - In this April 7, 2015 file photo, a marijuana plant stands on display during a press presentation of a legal medicinal marijuana harvest in the La Florida municipality of Santiago, Chile. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has signed a decree that removes marijuana from the country's list of hard drugs. The decree also authorizes the sale of cannabis-derived medicines at pharmacies. The document hasn't been published officially, but a copy was obtained Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo, File)

OAKLAND (BCN) — Past non-work-related cannabis use will no longer be a reason to discriminate against applicants in the hiring process for the city of Oakland, according to a resolution by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan that was passed unanimously by the City Council on Tuesday evening.

Exceptions will be allowed for positions where such consideration is legally required.

Kaplan said in a statement that people of color, particularly African Americans, are disproportionately affected by hiring discrimination based on past marijuana use. The resolution, she said, will decrease employment disparities for communities of color.

“It makes no sense to exclude people from employment for engaging in conduct that is widely accepted, permitted and regulated by the city of Oakland, and which Californians have made clear that we no longer consider a crime,” Kaplan said.

In November, California voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana under state law for people over the age of 21.

“Eliminating this discriminatory practice will also allow us to ensure we are including all possible qualified applicants for our job vacancies, and align with our value,” Kaplan said.

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