On April 9, the New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve a measure that would ban pre-employment marijuana testing for workers in the city, with a number of specific exceptions. Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated his intent to sign the bill, which would become effective in one year.
Along with law enforcement officers, the testing ban also excludes construction workers, commercial vehicle drivers, certain child care and health care workers, and other unspecified jobs with health and safety concerns. Instead of allowing employers to define such jobs, the city will administratively exclude certain positions from the testing ban based on safety issues. The ban would not affect reasonable suspicion, post-accident, or random testing done in conformance with current state law.
The city council justified the law on the basis that medical marijuana is already legal in New York, and the city appears poised to expand legalization of recreational marijuana use. Employers with operations in New York City should be prepared to adapt their drug testing policies to meet these new requirements in 2020.