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One of the most frustrating things about medical cannabis programs and cannabis legalization is that there is still nothing stopping employers from discriminating against people who have medical or personal reasons to use cannabis. Many employers still perform pre-employment drug testing as a way to eliminate the potential hiring a cannabis user for their staff.
This testing is widely decried as relatively discriminatory. Chemical tests won’t reliably show if somebody abuses alcohol daily. They may also not show evidence of hard drug use. Someone smoking methamphetamine or doing cocaine could test positive only a few days later. There are also a host of designer and synthetic drugs that aren’t included on standard drug testing panels.
Cannabis users, on the other hand, will likely test positive for many weeks if not months after their use ends. A lot of ways, New York City remains a relatively progressive municipality in terms of cannabis policy. They have publicly decried the racial discrepancy in the enforcement of cannabis law. There has also been serious talk about statewide legalization and perform, while the city itself decriminalized.
Now, in a move that could set national precedent, the New York City Council has voted 40-4 to pass a bill that would make it illegal to test workers for cannabis before employment. If the city actually puts this new proposed law into place, it would be the most progressive policy anywhere on cannabis testing for employment. In fact, New York City will beat every single state that has legalized cannabis to the punch at this particular step towards social justice. The City Council also passed a bill banning cannabis testing of people on probation. These bills now await the potential signature of the mayor.
The truth is that while more people can now use cannabis, people are still bearing disproportionate social and professional burdens for preferring cannabis to alcohol. States and local governments alike have a role in updating and changing cannabis policy across the country. New York City is once again proving to be a trend setter with social policies that will hopefully spread to other cities and states.
For previousLadybud articles about New York, click here.