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NYC Council passes bill to block employers from drug testing job applicants. Mayor de Blasio expected to sign.


'This is another instance where City Council is interfering in the relationship between employees and employers'

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The New York City Council approved this week a bill that would block many employers from forcing job applicants to undergo marijuana drug testing, the New Tork Times reported.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams sponsored the legislation that passed Tuesday in a 40-4 vote.

The legislation is the latest in a series of moves to ease marijuana restrictions in New York City while efforts to legalize marijuana have slowed at the state level.

"I'm proud that the city has taken action where the federal and the state government have stalled," Williams said, according to the Times.

Who would the bill affect?

Both public and private employers in New York City would be affected by the law, as well as employers with headquarters outside the city.

Williams told the newspaper that it's not clear how many employers currently require drug testing.

The council also passed a bill that would prohibit marijuana testing for those on probation.

Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokeswoman for the mayor, told the Times that Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration fully supports the bills, which are headed to his desk for his signature.

The legislation would take effect one year after the bills are signed.

Are there any exemptions?

The law would not apply to industries where safety is a factor, including law enforcement, construction workers, and those who supervise children.

It would not exempt federal and state employees who are subject to drug testing. The law would not change federal drug screening requirements mandated by the government on truck drivers and pilots, among others.

If someone on the job appears to be under the influence of drugs, the employer could have them tested.

What do supporters say?

Dionna King, a policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Times that she believes it's a positive move that could help remove the stigma attached to pot use.

"Through this legislation, there will still be a good number of folks who will no longer have to submit to testing just to get employment," King said.

What do opponents say?

But some business leaders believe the bill is another example of government overreach by the City Council.

"This is another instance where City Council is interfering in the relationship between employees and employers," said Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, which represents business leaders.

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