Home Legislative New York City Officials Consider Ban on Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Cannabis

New York City Officials Consider Ban on Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Cannabis


If cannabis is legal in your state, you might have encountered the grey area that is drug testing – especially if you are looking for a job. Whether or not employers should be testing for cannabis is a constant source of controversy. Some people say that what you do on your time away from work is your own business and that employers shouldn’t test. Others retort by saying that regardless of the legality of cannabis, private employers have the right to their own pre-employment policies. With that in mind, New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus has recently introduced a bill that would prevent employers from testing job applicants for cannabis.

NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams is introducing the bill, and its goal is to end drug testing for THC as a prerequisite for employment in most jobs. The bill reportedly would not apply to police or jobs that require the use of heavy machinery, among a few others.  As New York State could possibly legalize recreational use of cannabis in the near future, Williams takes a strong stand against testing for the plant.

“It doesn’t make sense that this would be something that would prevent someone from getting gainful employment,” Williams said.

This is a surprisingly accurate statement about cannabis use, which is always nice to see from a politician. The presence of THC in someone’s system most certainly does not indicate that they are under the influence of cannabis. In fact, it doesn’t even indicate that they have consumed cannabis lately, but rather within the last month or so. Testing positive for cannabis really has no bearing on whether you will be able to perform your job at a high level, or whether you’ll be performing your job high.

“If you ingest weed in whatever manner a month ago, I’m not sure how that prevents you from doing your job now,” Williams told NY Daily News.

Councilman Williams is just one member of New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus that supports bills to eliminate drug tests for THC. Councilman Donovan Richards sees the bill as a way to perhaps scale back on the fact that cannabis consumers as still unnecessarily jailed for consuming a plant, and he plans to introduce a bill to end drug testing for marijuana for people on city probation.

Should employers be prevented from testing potential employees for THC? Hopefully the common sense mindset of Councilman Williams resonates with more politicians – especially as the state moves toward recreational cannabis legalization.