NYC may limit drug testing for cannabis in employment
NEW YORK — Members of the New York City Council have approved a pair of municipal bills limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for the past use of cannabis.
Council members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a municipal proposal (No.1445) barring employers from drug testing certain job applicants for the presence of marijuana.
The proposal states, “[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment.” Council members passed the bill by a vote of 40 to 4.
Under the plan, employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions — such as police officers or commercial drivers — or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines, would be exempt from the municipal law.
The measure now awaits final approval from Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The new rules would take effect one year after being signed into law.
Studies have identified the presence of the inert carboxy-THC metabolite in the urine of former marijuana consumers for periods of several months following their last exposure.
Council members also advanced separate legislation (No. 1427) to the mayor’s office limiting situations in which persons on probation may be drug tested. Once signed, the new rules will take immediate effect.
A resolution (Res. 641) calling on the New York City officials to expunge the records of all city misdemeanor marijuana convictions is pending. New York City police made over 78,000 marijuana possession arrests between the years 2014 and 2017.
Israel: Private cannabis use no longer criminal
Under the amended law, which took effect on April 1, the private possession of cannabis is no longer classified as either a criminal or a civil violation. The possession or use of cannabis in public is punishable by a fine. In cases where an adult is in repeated violation of the law, police at their discretion may pursue a criminal investigation.
The Times of Israel newspaper quoted Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as stating that the new limited legalization policy is an “important step” that “shift[s] the focus from the criminal process to fines, education, public information and rehabilitation.”
Portsmouth, Va. to dismiss all pot possession cases
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Officials for the city of Portsmouth (population 95,000) will no longer seek to criminally prosecute low-level marijuana possession offenses.
“Effective immediately, please be advised that this office hereby moves for dismissal … on all possession of marijuana charges in the Portsmouth General District Court,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie N. Morales stated in an April 8 correspondence to judges.
In comments to local news media, Morales said that prosecutors ought to focus their limited resources toward more serious crimes. “It is really time we think about how we start to decarcerate as opposed to incarcerating for every type of crime,” she said.
Under state law, first-time marijuana possession violations are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
Her actions are similar to those recently taken in Norfolk, Virginia (population 255,000), as well as in a number of other major cities throughout the country, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.
Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.