Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants Is Barred by City in Groundbreaking Measure


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Most employers in New York City would no longer be in a position to force job applicants to take drug tests for marijuana use, below a bill overwhelmingly authorized this week by the City Council.

If the drug-screening law is enacted, it would place New York in comparatively uncharted territory. Various drug policy and employment specialists stated that they did not know of related laws on the books, even in states that have legalized marijuana.

In Maine, exactly where voters authorized legal recreational marijuana use, the law prevents employers from discriminating against individuals who have utilised cannabis, but it does not especially regulate drug testing.

The Council’s bill would influence public and private employers in New York City, which includes corporations with headquarters elsewhere, according to Jumaane D. Williams, the city’s public advocate and the bill’s sponsor. He stated it was unclear precisely how several employers in the city screen workers for drugs and may possibly be impacted.

“I’m proud that the city has taken action exactly where the federal and the state government have stalled,” Mr. Williams stated on Thursday.

The legislation, which passed on Tuesday by a 40-to-four vote, was the most current in a series of progressive measures that city officials have taken to ease cannabis restrictions as state lawmakers’ efforts to legalize marijuana have stalled.

In addition to Mr. Williams’s bill, the city also passed a bill that would cease the city from requiring marijuana testing for individuals on probation. Each bills are presently awaiting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature.

The mayor’s administration totally supports the employment bill, a spokeswoman for the mayor, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, stated on Thursday. The employment screening bill would take impact 1 year right after it is signed into law.

Not every single employee would be exempt from drug testing if the bill becomes law. If workers appeared to be below the influence of marijuana at function, employers would nevertheless be permitted to drug test.

The bill also carves out exemptions for specific security-sensitive industries, which includes law enforcement and building, as properly as jobs that demand supervising young children or healthcare individuals.

The bill also would not cease federal and state workers or contractors, who are not below the city’s jurisdiction, from becoming tested. Nor would it finish the drug-test specifications imposed by the federal government on transportation workers like truck drivers and pilots.

Dionna King, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, acknowledged that the variety of exceptions could weaken the influence of the bill. Nevertheless, she stated the bill was an crucial step toward ending the stigma attached to marijuana use.

“Through this legislation, there will nevertheless be a great quantity of people who will no longer have to submit to testing just to get employment,” Ms. King stated.

Pre-employment drug testing began to come to be increasingly prevalent in the 1980s. Former President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order in 1986 that named for “drug-totally free workplaces” in the federal government, and mandated drug testing at federal agencies.

In 1988, the Drug-No cost Workplace Act extended the policy to federal contractors and recipients of federal grants. From there, it in the end spread to the private sector, pushed by advocates of sturdy antidrug policy, according to Mark A.R. Kleiman, a professor at public policy at New York University.

By 2011, extra than half of United States employers performed drug screenings on all of their job candidates, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, a trade organization. Only 29 % of employers did not conduct drug tests at all.

Ms. Wylde, 64, stated the bill would raise charges for international employers in unique, forcing them to modify current policies to comply with the city’s law.

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stated that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana this year. Although he had initially hoped to incorporate the measure as element of the state price range, lawmakers had been unable to attain a deal.

Mr. Williams stated that although the state continued to negotiate legalization, it was crucial for the city to continue to enact what he viewed as sensible marijuana policy.

“If we want to be a progressive city, we have to genuinely place these issues into action,” he stated.

Quest Diagnostics, 1 of the nation’s biggest healthcare testing corporations, released information on Thursday that stated that marijuana use had risen amongst United States workers in 2018. An evaluation of extra than 10 million drug-test benefits showed that two.three % of the American function force tested good for marijuana use in 2018, up from two % a year earlier.

Quest also stated that the percentage of American workers who tested good for illicit drugs was at its highest point considering that 2004.

The country’s increasing acceptance of marijuana usage was probably to force employers to take a tougher appear at their drug-testing policies, Ms. Osipoff stated. She anticipated that New York City’s bill would push employers across the nation to take into account broad alterations.

“When New York City passes a law, that just gets employers speaking,” she stated.

A single of the Council members who opposed the bill, Steven Matteo, a Republican of Staten Island, stated he felt the city must not interfere with the private sector’s hiring discretion.

“I think private corporations must have the energy to identify their personal hiring practices,” stated Mr. Matteo, the City Council’s minority leader.


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