Great news for marijuana smokers living in New York City, the New York City Council just passed a law that bans pre-employment testing for marijuana usage.
The bill was sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo and Council Member Carlina Rivera and it prohibits employers from requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing for Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.
It has long been argued by proponent of the bill that cannabis testing for jobs actually does more harm to people than marijuana itself.
“Testing isn’t a deterrent to using marijuana, it’s an impediment to opportunity that dates back to the Reagan era– a war on drugs measure that’s now a war on workers,” said Jumaane Williams.
Marijuana usage accounts for approximately 50 percent of all positive results on drug tests and failed tests lead to an inability for many to advance in their careers or to be hired for a job in the first place.
“Prospective employers don’t test for alcohol, so weed should be no different,” said Williams. “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.”
The City Council also passed a second bill on Tuesday, sponsored by Councilmember Donovan Richards of Queens, that prohibits the Department of Probation from conducting drug tests for weed, preventing hundreds of people from being re-arrested for low level marijuana charges, which often are unrelated to their original offense.
“The passage of these bills is an important step in the decriminalization of marijuana and the reduction of collateral consequences, such as job loss and loss of access to subsidized housing and other public benefits,” the City Council’s Progressive Caucus said in a statement.
The Progressive Caucus introduced a Marijuana Justice Package last month that includes four pieces of legislation and 13 resolutions to express support for ethical legalization that prioritizes equity and restitution, reduces the collateral consequences from marijuana criminalization and promotes policies that prioritize the inclusion of communities most harmed by marijuana criminalization.
“The Caucus will push the remaining bills and resolutions, dealing with the collateral consequences of marijuana usage and possession on racialized child welfare proceedings, to hearing and passage in the coming weeks,” the Caucus said in the statement.