New York City lawmakers are considering a proposal that would prohibit of drug testing by companies for marijuana as a requirement to be hired.
Drug testing policies for employees and workplaces have been a constant source of controversy. The biggest difference between alcohol and cannabis is how they are detected through testing. Alcohol does not linger in the bloodstream like marijuana does.
Someone can fail a marijuana drug test weeks after using marijuana because the active ingredient, THC, takes a long time to leave the bloodstream. A positive test does not mean the person is impaired at that moment.
Instead, it just shows that they used marijuana within the last few weeks or so.. And with many employers “no tolerance” workplace drug policies, workers have faced sanctions and terminations testing positive for THC, despite showing no indication of drug-impairment on the job.
Jumanne Williams is sponsoring the legislation that is set to be introduced on Wednesday. It would ban companies in the city from testing for THC.
Exceptions would be made for safety and security sensitive jobs, like the NYPD, and those tied to a federal or state contract or grant. The law would go into effect one year after its approval.
In August the Manhattan District Attorney stopped prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. And in January 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed legalizing recreational marijuana statewide.