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Cannabis Testing to Continue for Some New York Public Sector Roles

Aug 2, 2022

As legalization for recreational and medical cannabis use continues to gain traction in states across the country, many employers, in both public and private sectors, are beginning to reevaluate their drug screening processes. 

Earlier this month, the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), the nation’s largest police force, announced it would cease pre-employment, random and scheduled testing of its members for marijuana usage. While the city will continue to test officers suspected of being intoxicated from THC while on the job, the impression was that off-duty use that complies with New York State Law would not be subject to disciplinary action. 

However, according to a statement later released by the NYPD, that is not the case. In the subsequent statement, the NYPD Public Information Office stated that there would be no change in policy. 

“The New York Police Department has received a legal memorandum from the City’s Law Department regarding the implementation of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in New York State law,” said the new statement. “We are in consultation with the Law Department over conflicts with the new state law and pre-existing federal law. While these discussions continue, there is no change in NYPD policies, procedures or testing protocols regarding the use of marijuana by uniformed members of the service.”  

The original opinion was partially the result of the conclusion that no test can currently and conclusively determine when current cannabis usage occurred on the job or during protected off-hours. 

This comes about a year after the NYPD issued updated rules to officers notifying them that because cannabis was now legalized for adult use, they were no longer able to arrest adults age 21 and older for using marijuana in places where tobacco is permitted. 

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