The city council of New York City has approved a bill that would prevent most employers from making marijuana drug tests a part of their job hiring process.
If made into law, this groundbreaking bill would be the first legislation in the United States that would prohibit businesses from requiring their job applicants to under a drug test for marijuana.
The bill is now awaiting action from the mayor.
NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio reportedly supports the anti-pre-employment marijuana drug testing bill. However, it would not be enacted for at least a year after its passage, according to a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.
The bill would apply to both public and private employees and job applicants. There are, however, employees in certain industries who would not be exempt from cannabis testing. These include truck drivers, pilots, police officers, construction workers, and people who need to operate heavy equipment. Moreover, employees who are suspected of smoking pot during work hours would also have to comply if they are required to undergo drug testing.
Cannabis supporters and advocates see the measure as knocking down a barrier that keeps job seekers from getting the job they are professionally qualified for just because of a private behavior or habit.
According to public advocate Jumaane Williams who authored the bill, “If you ingest weed in whatever manner one month ago, I am not sure how that will prevent you from performing your job now.”
Meanwhile, there are some council members and business groups who expressed their opposition to the proposal, seeing it as meddling with a valid employment concern.
Council Republican Leader Steven Matteo argued that private businesses should have the freedom and the power to determine their own employee hiring practices. He contended that employers should have the power to decide not only the skills and experience that are relevant to certain positions, but also whether the use of a specific drug could adversely affect a prospective employee’s ability to perform.