A growing movement in California and across the country is demanding that employers pay for employees to have medical leave for marijuana use.
But a bill proposed by California Democratic Rep. Dana Rohrabacher would create a loophole for employers to avoid paying for medical leave.
The Rohrabachers bill would allow employees to use medical marijuana for purposes other than the work related to a medical condition.
It would exempt employees with a qualifying condition for up to 60 days.
If employers decide to pay for the leave, they would be required to pay back the full amount of wages paid by employees in the same or a subsequent month, according to the Rohrabaches bill.
The bill is backed by employers who oppose the idea of medical leave as a way to protect their workers, saying it would force them to pay more for sick workers and cut back on benefits.
Rohrabacher’s bill is the latest in a string of legislative efforts that have come as the country’s legalization movement grows.
In September, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that loosened regulations on medical marijuana and made the drug legal for medical use.
The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest medical society, endorsed Rohrabagus bill, saying its passage would be a positive step toward a broader shift in the way people and companies view the use of medical marijuana.
It said it has no objection to paying for the employee’s medical leave when it is for a qualifying medical condition or when it relates to a qualifying employee, and said it would welcome the bill.
“This is the right thing to do for our health care workers, and it is important to note that our members have the highest rates of prescription drug abuse of any other profession,” AMA President John Mackey said in a statement.