Cannabis testing banned for most job applicants in Philadelphia starting in 2022
When the calendar shifts to 2022 in a few days, most job seekers in Philadelphia will no longer have to sweat a cannabis drug test.
Starting Jan. 1, the city will ban most employers from testing new hires for cannabis. The new ordinance, passed easily by the Philadelphia City Council earlier this year, will be “the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.” according to local TV channel KDKA.
Recreational pot is still illegal in the state, but medical cannabis is not. The latter prompted Philadelphia City Council member Derek Green to write the prescription, telling KDKA that his primary focus was medicinal cannabis.
“Cannabis is a unique product. Unlike alcohol and others, it metabolizes in your system very differently,” said Green, as quoted by the television channel. “We are having this conversation across the Commonwealth and at General Assembly about whether we allow cannabis for adult use. But to me, those who really need medical marijuana, especially to improve their quality of life, shouldn’t be prevented from getting a job, because that’s what we all want to see.
There are a number of exemptions for the new order, “including law enforcement, employees who need a commercial driver’s license, many healthcare workers, and a broad category that includes” everything position in which the employee could have a significant impact on the health or safety of “other employees or members of the public,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The city council approved the ordinance in April by a 15-1 vote, with the only vote against coming from David Oh, a Republican.
The legislation was signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney shortly thereafter.
Although Philadelphia may be the first city in the key state to adopt such a measure, it has been done elsewhere, including in neighboring New York City, which had its own ban on cannabis testing before the employment last year.
Lawmakers in Nevada, where recreational pot is legal for adults, implemented their own ban last year, and earlier this year, shortly after the end of the pot ban, New York imposed the statewide ban.
Much like Philadelphia, New York City’s ban on pre-employment marijuana testing came before recreational pot was legalized.
The measure was passed by the New York City Council in 201 after being introduced by Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate and candidate for governor of New York.
“Marijuana testing is not a deterrent to drug use, it is a barrier to opportunity dating back to the Reagan area – a barrier that disadvantages low-income workers, often more workers of color, many of whom we now call essentials but treat as consumables.” Williams said after the order took effect last year.
“Particularly now, as we struggle to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst levels of unemployment in a century, we need to create more job access points, not fewer – and if possible employers don’t test for past alcohol use, marijuana should be no different This is an economic recovery issue, a workers’ justice issue, and an issue New York City needs to address. show the way.
Green, a Philadelphia City Council member, said it didn’t make sense for employers to select something that’s often recommended by doctors in the state.
“We are using pre-employment testing for a doctor-recommended product, for people in the city of Philadelphia, that is approved for use,” Green said after its approval in April, as quoted by the Philadelphia plaintiff. “It seems very contradictory.”