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Testing for marijuana in job applicants is now prohibited in NYC


Both prescription and street drugs can affect mood and cognitive abilities. Many commonly used substances also carry an addiction risk. Employers therefore often want to test applicants for recent drug use.

New York does not have any state laws that restrict drug testing by employers. However, New York City passed a one-of-a-kind law on May 10 prohibiting employers from forcing job applicants to take a drug test for marijuana. They will still be able to test for other drugs.

NYC is unique in prohibiting testing

The closest thing to the new NYC law is a Maine provision that says employers can’t discriminate against people if they’ve used marijuana. That means they can’t avoid hiring them because of their cannabis use, but it’s not the same as being legally barred from testing them for that usage.

Who is affected?

Both public and private employers are now prohibited from testing applicants for marijuana, including companies that do not have their headquarters in the city. However, there are exceptions for certain jobs, including those tied to state and federal grants and law enforcement.

Marijuana use at work

The law does not mean that employees can be under the influence at work. Employers can still test employees who demonstrate behavior that they are under the influence of marijuana. In addition, all marijuana use is still prohibited under federal law.

The bottom line

The push for marijuana legalization continues in New York. This new law, unique to the city of New York, further reduces negative consequences associated with marijuana use, including both prescription and recreational use.

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