Should Employers in NY Ask Potential Employees for Marijuana Testing?

Should Employers in NY Ask Potential Employees for Marijuana Testing?

As an employer, you want to be careful about who you employ. Thus, many employers do background checks. They want to know for sure that the candidate is who they say they are. They want to ensure that the candidate does, in fact, have the qualifications they claim to have. However, when it comes to other types of testing, like marijuana testing, an employer needs to ensure that they’re not unknowingly discriminating.

Marijuana Testing Ban in NYC

Although you may previously have asked potential employees to submit to drug testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, you should know that starting May 10, 2020, this has become illegal in the city of New York.

The New York City Council passed the bill on April 9, 2019. Mayor Bill de Blasio neither vetoed nor signed it. So, it became a law on May 10, 2019. But the local law takes effect a year after the bill becomes a law. So, starting May 10, 2020, it is illegal for an employer to ask for testing for this drug even though cannabis continues to remain illegal at the Federal level.

Exceptions to the Marijuana Testing Ban

There are certain exceptions to this law.

  • Police officers or peace officers undergo drug testing.
  • So can health care workers or people who are caring for children or vulnerable persons.
  • If your job requires you to have a commercial driver’s license, you may have to undergo drug testing.
  • Plus, if you have a job “with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public” then you might be asked to take a marijuana test.
  • If the position requires compliance with section 3321 of the New York city building code or section 220-h of the labor law, then that person can also be asked to take the marijuana test.


As more and more states continue the trend of decriminalizing marijuana, it’s a good idea for employers to take this into consideration when they do a background check for potential employees.

Contact us for more up-to-date information regarding marijuana testing potential employees.

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