The New York City council has passed a bill banning most employers from drug testing job applicants.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) may not have been able to successfully legalize recreational marijuana in New York just yet, but that doesn't mean things aren't moving forward in the Empire State. Officials in NYC passed a measure on Tuesday that bans employers from drug testing individuals as part of the hiring process. The passing of this bill will increase job prospects for many people who would have been needlessly discriminated against in the past, said city lawmakers.
"We need to be creating more access points for employment, not less," the bill's sponsor, Public Advocate Jamaane Williams (D), told Bloomberg Law. "And as we move toward legalization, it makes absolutely no sense that we're keeping people from finding jobs or advancing their careers because of marijuana use."
Not everyone will now be exempt from drug testing, however. People looking to get jobs in particular industries, such as construction or law enforcement, can still be subject to drug screening. Exceptions will also be made for jobs tied to either federal or state level government contracts.
Williams was careful to note that the new bill does not endorse on-the-job cannabis use.
"This is not a permission to come to work high, it is not permission to come to work impaired, but we are not speaking about that," Williams told Patch. "We are speaking about people who are prevented from going to work in the first place."
The bill comes as part of the city's plan to lessen the impact of cannabis criminalization. In recent months, both city police and prosecutors have drastically reduced the amounts of arrests and prosecutions for low-level cannabis infractions.
The bill is now awaiting Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D) signature and would go in to effect next year. A spokesperson for the mayoral office said de Blasio fully supports the bill.