May 10, 2020 [DTN] Starting today, New York City employers will no longer require job applicants to submit to a marijuana drug test before they get the job.
This long-awaited law – the first of its kind – was passed last spring and technically goes into effect today. Of course, no one is hiring in New York today as the Big Apple continues to be shuttered due to the COVID-19 virus.
But theoretically, if you went looking for a job in the Big Apple today, your prospective employer could not go looking for weed.
The new law will not restrict employers from pre-screening for other drugs nor will it protect current employees from being tested for pot during a random screen or a post-accident test.
But New York is now the first city in the nation to exclude THC testing from its pre-employment screens, an enlightened policy that is likely to grow with cannabis law reform over the next several years.
There are a wide variety of exceptions in the New York law where the proscription against THC will still apply.
Police and peace officers, for example, and persons looking for a job in law enforcement will still be scrutinized for weed before they can be offered employment.
Prospective employees who require a commercial driver’s license will still get the pre-job whiz quiz as well.
The New York law will not override drug testing required by any of the Departments of Transportation – not federal, state nor local; and the professional caregivers of children, medical patients and senior citizens will still need to prove they are THC-free.
But New York City under Mayor Bill DeBlasio is now the first city in the nation to do something about the tension between cannabis law reform and workplace drug testing.
While advocates try to convince state legislators to mitigate the ongoing job discrimination against cannabis consumers, lobbyists for the drug test industry will continue to try to sell the same state legislators on the outdated notion that urinalysis is an employers best weapon against the scrounge of “marijuana addiction.”
In a similar move, Nevada became the first state to ban THC pre-employment drug screening earlier this year.
That makes one city and one state… with many more jurisdictions to come.