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By now, you’ve probably heard the news that cannabis is legal in the state of New York. That means some things are changing on the employment front.  We’ve done a two part series overview of this new state law, but let’s dive into the biggest question you probably have.  Can you still drug test for cannabis in New York State?

The answer here is actually fairly simple once you parse through the legalese of the two new laws.  In short, yes, you absolutely can still test a prospective employee for weed in NY.  It just can’t be the only factor that causes you to not hire them.

a 10-panel drug test agreement form

What does that mean though?

Basically, this means that cannabis can be one reason among others that you don’t hire.  Let’s use an example, person A and person B. Keep in mind, this is not legal advice, this is just a very simple example.  Person A has all the qualities you’re looking for in this new hire, got along great with their interviewer, and potentially can move up into a leadership role for your company. 

Person B has similar qualities related to the job, but was more nervous and reserved in their interview, and you feel as though a hire of them would result in a stagnant pencil-pusher. They just don’t seem like they mesh in the culture. Upon a drug test for each, you discover person B smokes weed and person A does not.  You were going to hire person A over person B, so the drug test result doesn’t impact the hiring decision. 

There are exceptions, to quote one from the bill itself, “Employer can have a drug and alcohol policy and can act based on the belief actions were permissible under that policy,” but that applies more to current or returning employees. The State law does not prohibit testing, only discrimination.

Can you drug test for Cannabis in NYC?

This does not apply to the New York City Ordinance, however.  Under the Ordinance, pre-employment testing for marijuana is simply not allowed. The only exceptions are for safety-sensitive positions and entities that work with the federal government.

Similarly to alcohol, your employees cannot be high on the job. That is strictly against the ruling, and for that, you can take disciplinary action. However, the employee in question must be showing obvious signs of intoxication.  Train managers and supervisors to know what to look for so you don’t become liable for a mistake.

Contact us!

The two new state laws and City ordinance seem very confusing at first, but they do provide clear answers to some basic questions.  Make sure to stay up to date with our blog for more information on these changing times and employment news.  We offer a bevy of services to meet whatever needs you may have.  Reach out via contact form any time and our team at Employment Screening Services can work to make sure your new employees are up to your standards.