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article imageNYC close to ban on pre-employment drug tests for marijuana

By Karen Graham     Apr 10, 2019 in Politics
New York City - New York City Council passed a bill yesterday that would prohibit employers from testing potential job applicants for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the active drug found in marijuana. The bill passed on a 41-4 vote and needs the Mayor's approval.
The bill was part of a larger package of initiatives aimed at decriminalizing and reducing the penalties associated with marijuana use. The lead sponsor of the bill and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams saw the passage of the bill as a step in the right direction. Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Carlina Rivera were co-sponsors of the bill.
"Prospective employers don’t test for alcohol, so marijuana should be no different. We need to be creating more access points for employment, not less. And as we push for legalization on a state level, it makes absolutely no sense that we’re keeping people from finding jobs or advancing their careers because of marijuana use,” Williams said, according to Grow Op.
Using his Twitter account yesterday, Williams Tweeted: "False stigma & illogical policy around marijuana continue to harm people. Today the @NYCCouncil passed my bill to ban pre-employment marijuana testing and help end a war on drugs which has become a war on workers, esp. in black & brown communities."
Exclusions in the pre-employment marijuana testing ban
The bill does contain exceptions to the rule. Specifically, the bill states: "Police officers and other law enforcement, workers who supervise medical patients or people with disabilities, childcare workers, jobs that require a valid commercial driver’s license, and workers with federal or state contracts are exempt from the bill, as are all construction workers and workers whose jobs have an impact on community health and safety, as determined by the city."
City Council also passed a second bill that would stop the Department of Probation from conducting tests for marijuana on people who are on probation, reports the Daily News.
“This bill will close one trap door that trips people up,” said the council’s Public Safety Committee chair Donovan Richards. “Too many people come out, they are trying to do better, and they get busted for marijuana and go back into jail or prison. This sets them back.”
“We all know that there’s no public safety value in violating people over low-level marijuana offenses, especially today when the state has already legalized medical marijuana and is talking about legalizing recreational use,” Richards said.
The bills are part of New York City's attempt to lessen the penalties associated with marijuana consumption. Back in 2014, Mayor de Blasio issued an order to the NYPD to cease making arrests over the possession of small amounts of marijuana and hand out a ticket instead.
More about Marijuana, NYC, preemployment testing, department of probation, Decriminalization
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