Philadelphia Bans Pre-Employment Drug Testing for Cannabis

Philadelphia’s City Council has banned pre-employment drug screenings for cannabis by most businesses in the city.

Full story after the jump.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Council has passed a measure to prohibit pre-employment drug screening for cannabis for most of the businesses in the city, according to a report. Drug testing is still permitted for safety-sensitive positions such as law enforcement, childcare workers, those who oversee medical patients, and “any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public.”

Employees who are federally mandated to undergo pre-employment drug screenings are also exempt from the legislation. The bill also doesn’t prevent union employees from drug tests if it’s included in their collective bargaining agreements.

The bill, which was approved 15-1, “prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment, under certain terms and conditions.”

Councilmember Derek Green, the bill’s sponsor, noted prior to the vote last week that medical cannabis is legal in the state.

“We’re using pre-employment testing for a product that is being recommended by physicians, for individuals within the city of Philadelphia, that’s authorized for them to be used. That seems very contradictory.” – Green to the Philadelphia Inquirer

In 2019, Nevada became the first state to ban most employers from drug testing applicants for cannabis use during pre-employment. Washington, DC, Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City have also moved to limit employers’ ability to test most employees for off-the-clock cannabis use, according to

Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to sign the bill into law, according to the Inquirer, and it would take effect January 1.

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