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NYC Might Ban Marijuana Testing for Job Applicants

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By Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press

(AP) — Many job-seekers would no longer face tests for marijuana use under legislation that New York City is likely to enact, taking a novel step as lawmakers and employers around the U.S. grapple with workplace policies about marijuana.

The Democrat-led City Council passed a measure Tuesday that would ban pre-employment testing for the drug, with certain exceptions.

Supporters say the measure, which if enacted may be the first of its breadth, would knock down a barrier that blocks people from jobs because of private behavior, not professional ability. Marijuana can show up on a drug test days, or sometimes weeks, after use.

“If you ingest weed in whatever manner a month ago, I’m not sure how that prevents you from doing your job now,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a Democrat who sponsored the proposal, told the council.

But some council members and business groups object to what they see as municipal meddling with a valid employment concern.

“Private businesses should have the power to determine their own hiring practices — not just in deciding what skills and experience are relevant to certain positions, but also whether the use of a specific drug could have an adverse impact on a prospective employee’s ability to perform,” Council Republican Leader Steven Matteo said in a statement.

The measure is awaiting action from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

AP Photo John Locher

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