The New York City Fire Department (NYFD) will no longer randomly test members for cannabis use, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) acknowledged last week following the leak of a confidential document outlining the reforms.
The union said in a July 13 update to members that it expects official guidelines on the new policy within two weeks.
“Members are reminded that they must be fit for duty when they report to work, and members may still be subject to testing while at work if they appear unfit for duty.” — UFA, Drug Testing Update, July, 13, 2022
The union said the new policy is due to New York’s broad legalization which took effect April 1 and that it had sought the changes following the passage of the law.
“Members need to understand that actions taken by the UFA Executive Board on this matter are not an endorsement of recreational marijuana use,” the update says, “these actions are based on the belief that UFA members are entitled to the same protections under the [Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act] as all other New York State residents.”
In a follow-up letter to FDNY members, Chief of Operations John Esposito reminded firefighters that “use of any substance while at work still remains strictly prohibited” but noted the New York City Law Department has issued guidance that “prohibits adverse employment actions based on off-hours” cannabis consumption and that the guidance would be officially disseminated within the next two weeks.
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