The residents of New York City celebrated in a cloud of happiness when new legislation legalized recreational cannabis. Months later, a new policy states that New York businesses can no longer test for marijuana, as reported in the Ganjapreneur.
Even though “there are no tests that currently demonstrate impairment,” companies are not allowed to a drug test with the intent of determining whether an employee is impaired and under the influence of marijuana.
Although this change is very progressive in the fight for recreational marijuana legalization, the guidelines state that several businesses are exempt from the new regulation and can still test and fire employees if they fail a drug test. Most of them being federal agencies in New York, with federal mandates or contracts.
Exempt from the new policy or not, employees coming to work under the influence or using marijuana on the job is still prohibited and validly punishable. Keep in mind that companies can still drug test people in safety-sensitive positions under state and federal law.
Another important detail is that employees under 21 are not included in New York’s new adult-use cannabis law. Therefore even if you are 18, you can still be tested, suspended, or fired for marijuana consumption regardless of being an adult.
The new mandate then states that employers cannot stop employees from using marijuana even when employees are off the clock. Employers cannot make an employee waive rights and expose their marijuana consumption as a condition of being hired or further employment with the company. The only time employers have a say in their employee cannabis consumption is during work hours, when they are physically at work, or on break.
The new guidance also specifies that employers can choose whether or not to take action if an employee uses cannabis while on the clock. So technically, it’s up to the business whether or not they want to suspend or fire the employee or do nothing.
The state is still in the process of fine-tuning recreational marijuana. The state announced that it plans to use cannabis tax funds on social justice reparations.