New York: Employers Are Prohibited from Testing Most Employees for Cannabis

The New York Department of Labor announced that employers are now prohibited from testing their workers for the presence of marijuana.

Employers will still be allowed to take action against an employee who is impaired on-the-job, but only if an employee “manifests specific articulable symptoms of impairment.”

Under the guidance, a positive drug test for marijuana does not constitute an “articulable symptom of impairment,” and neither does the odor of marijuana.

According to Quest Diagnostics, “New York is the first state to essentially prohibit cannabis testing in all but narrowly defined situations.”

In 2019, New York City enacted local policies limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for past cannabis exposure.

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told Marijuana Moment that “random marijuana testing in the workplace, such as pre-employment drug screening, has never been an evidence-based policy. Rather, this discriminatory practice is a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs.’”

“But times have changed; attitudes have changed, and in many places, the marijuana laws have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality and to cease punishing employees for activities they engage in during their off-hours that pose no workplace safety threat.”