NYC Council Bans Job Applicant Cannabis Testing

Zej Moczydlowski
Apr 16, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Passing in a 40-4 vote, a bill proposed by the New York City Council would prevent most city employers from forcing job applicants to submit to tests for cannabis usage. As noted in the New York Times article linked below, "The Council’s bill would affect public and private employers in New York City, including companies with headquarters elsewhere… it was unclear exactly how many employers in the city screen employees for drugs and might be affected."

The law is likely the first of its kind, with only Maine having anything similar on the books. In Maine, where recreational cannabis is legal, employers cannot discriminate against cannabis users but testing is not specifically addressed. The passing of this legislation was coupled by another cannabis related bill which would prevent the city from requiring cannabis testing for individuals on probation.

One caveat is that employees who appear to be under the influence of cannabis while at work could still be tested. Further, those in certain industries where safety is a factor would also not be covered by the provisions of the bill. Law enforcement officers, construction workers, and those supervising children or medical patients would, for example, still be eligible for mandatory testing. Federal and state employees or contractors, who do not fall under the city's jurisdiction, are also not covered.

The bill currently awaits signature by Major Bill de Blasio. According to representatives from the Mayor's office it would appear that he will approve it. Such legislation, which show the rest of the nation what sensible policies look like, are an important step forward in undoing decades of bias against cannabis. As more states enact such legislation hopefully a trend will begin, unraveling decades of misguided law.

Link to the New York Times article covering the bill:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/nyregion/marijuana-drug-testing-nyc.html

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