New York City Restricts Pre-employment Marijuana Drug Testing

August 6, 2019 Accurate Background

New York City Council passed Int. No. 1445-A, an amendment to Title 8 of the administrative code for the city of New York, expanding on its list of unlawful discriminatory practices in employment. Under the new amendment, employers are prohibited from requiring prospective employees to submit to pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a condition of employment.

The Basics

  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Legislation: INT 1445-2019
  • Type: Drug Testing
  • Effective Date: May 10, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • Prohibits employers from requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of marijuana or any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a condition of employment.
  • Exceptions are provided for a variety of positions and situations. Employers should discuss with their counsel if the exceptions apply to them.

What is prohibited in the law?

  • It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment, except as otherwise provided by law.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Exceptions to this law include, but are not limited to, persons applying to work:

  • As police officers or peace officers;
  • In any position requiring compliance with section 3321 of the New York city building code or section 220-h of the labor law;
  • In any position requiring a commercial driver’s license;
  • In any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients or vulnerable persons;
  • In any position with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public;
  • In positions in which drug testing is required pursuant to applicable federal law, state law, or regulations


We recommend you review and discuss with drug testing vendors, Medical Review Officers, and legal counsel your organization’s policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the changing laws and regulations. For more information regarding recent legislative changes in other states and jurisdictions, visit our Legislative Updates page.

*Please note: The information provided above is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to be legal advice, either expressed or implied. Accurate Background recommends that you consult with your legal counsel regarding all employment regulations. 

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