The City Council in New York passed a bill on Tuesday banning some companies from compelling drug testing for cannabis within the city.

Last month, the city council passed a resolution for the state government to legalize cannabis.  However, many occupations are excluded from this bill and those employers are free to continue cannabis screening tests for candidates.  The jobs excluded include; security, city regulated positions with a significant impact on health and safety, and state or federal government contracts (i.e. police officers, commercial drivers, as well as, those who care for children, medical patients and people with disabilities).

The council passed the bill with a vote of 41-4 and now gets passed to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his deliberation.  If the bill gets approved, it goes into effect one year after he signs.

This has opened discussions regarding ending drug screenings for cannabis for parolees.  On Monday, April 8th, the Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to support this.  Nearly 300 parolees on probation in New York have been sent back to prison last year for cannabis violations.

Committee chair Donovan Richards said, “Remember, these are people who are otherwise not violating their probation conditions.  That means they are working or seeking work, avoiding police contact and following all the conditions set-out for them by their probation officers.  These are people who don’t need marijuana testing to keep them on a straight path.”

Richards states that five former city probation commissioners and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman have all agreed that testing parolees for cannabis does not serve any useful purpose.

“The passage of this bill would help close one trapdoor that too many people have fallen into while working to lead a better life for themselves and their families,” Richards said.

This bill is another positive leap for cannabis.  We support the passage of this bill to remove cannabis from drug screening tests for rehabilitated parolees and select businesses.