New York City has just passed a law that prohibits any employer in New York City from requiring pre-employment drug tests that test for the marijuana. This prohibition will be in an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law. The law is expected to be signed by the Mayor and will not take effect for a year. Of course, the New York City law has many exceptions for police officers, positions that require a commercial driver’s license, positions requiring caring for children, etc.
The more important question though is can we expect more jurisdictions to follow suit and start passing laws prohibiting pre-employment drug tests for marijuana in light of the many jurisdictions that now have medical and recreational marijuana laws. Many states have prohibitions on discrimination against individuals for being a medical marijuana cardholder. Recent caselaw has demonstrated an increasing willingness of courts to rule in favor of employees who have been denied employment due to a positive test result for marijuana. In light of these court cases, some legislatures may see prohibiting pre-employment testing as a way to protect medical marijuana users in their states. It will be interesting to see if New York City has paved the way for other jurisdictions to pass similar legislation to achieve this goal of protecting medical marijuana users.