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e-Alert – New York City Bans Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Marijuana

By July 29, 2019No Comments


The New York City Council has passed a groundbreaking new bill that prohibits pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. The law takes effect on May 10, 2020, and employers will have one year to comply, by May 10, 2021, including updating their policies and procedures.


The law prohibits all New York City employers from requiring prospective employees to submit to a drug test for marijuana or THC. The law, however, would not prohibit employers from drug testing current employees for marijuana.

The exceptions under the law include high risk or otherwise safety-sensitive positions, including:

  • Law enforcement positions;
  • Laborers, mechanics, workers, contractors, or those working in a public work site;
  • Employees working in compliance with New York City building codes;
  • Any driver with a commercial driver’s license;
  • Any position supervising or caring for children, medical patients, or vulnerable persons;
  • Any position that could significantly impact the health or safety of employees or the public; or
  • Any exclusion in accordance with state or federal departments of transportation, federal contracts, state or federal statutes, or collective bargaining agreements.

Next Steps for Employers

  • New York City employers who conduct pre-employment drug testing should work with their drug-testing provider to ensure compliance with this new law beginning on May 10, 2020.
  • New York City employers should review their handbook and drug-testing policy to ensure compliance with this new law.
  • If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your handbook and drug-testing policy, please email us.
  • If you are interested in learning more about our preferred drug-testing vendor, Verified First, please contact us.

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.