Philadelphia City Council votes to end drug screening prior to setting on cannabis
It’s a good day to be a cannabis user in Philadelphia as it may soon be illegal for some employees within some city limits to undergo mandatory drug screening before hiring for cannabis use. This will be a huge victory for medical patients looking for work.
The Philadelphia City Council passed this new decision overwhelmingly, with an approval of 15, which it opposed. Republican David Oh was the only person who opposed the measure.
Bill No. 200625 now officially prohibits “employers from obliging potential employees under certain conditions to carry out tests for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment.”
Since the bill makes it illegal “to require a prospective employee to undergo a marijuana test before hiring,” people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes in the state should not worry about getting them out of the job market be taken. In addition, it paves the way for recreational cannabis as it also helps those who smoke in their leisure time, although this has not been technically legalized.
Some people, such as police officers, those who work with children or medical patients, and those in federal professions, are not exempt from drug control prior to setting on cannabis. Mayor Jim Kenney has yet to sign the bill, and if he does it will go into effect January 1st next year.
“There is no evidence to support the claim that those who consume cannabis in the privacy of their own home outside of the workplace pose a unique threat or risk to workforce safety,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, who testified for this bill.
“Suspicious marijuana testing in the workplace, like pre-employment drug screening, is not an evidence-based policy now or ever. Rather, these discriminatory practices are a holdover from the “war on drugs” zeitgeist of the 1980s. But times have changed, attitudes have changed, and marijuana laws have changed in many places. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality and stop punishing employees for activities they do outside of business hours that do not pose a threat to workplace safety. “
“We use pre-hire testing for a product recommended by doctors, People in the City of Philadelphia are allowed to do so for their use, ”said Councilor Derek Green, who originally proposed the bill. “That seems very contradictory.”
Even more reasons to ban drug screening before hiring on cannabis
Green claimed he introduced the bill to end drug screening before hiring on cannabis after learning that some people with autism use cannabis to help with learning disabilities and then have no way of getting a job, though they can use cannabis medicinally.
Similar laws were passed in Atlanta, New York, and Washington, DC. All of these measures limit when and how employees can search for cannabis use.
Research also confirms this step. A study published in Occupational Medicine showed that for employees in any occupation “there is no association between cannabis use in the past year and work-related injuries”.
“To the best of our knowledge, this was the largest cross-sectional, population-based study examining the relationship between cannabis use over the past year and work-related injuries. We found that workers who used cannabis more than once in the past year were not more likely to have had a work-related injury in a large cohort of the … working population over the same period, ”the study concluded.
While this measure does not cover all jobs and situations, and there is still a long way to go in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania for cannabis justice and legalization, it is an important step for Philly in protecting medical cannabis patients and users in the workforce.