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NY employers no longer allowed to test for marijuana

October 21, 2021

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(WBNG) — Given the newly legal status of cannabis, the state Department of Labor decided it is high time to change its current rules.

The department quietly released new guidelines forbidding the majority of employers, both public and private, from testing their employees for marijuana.

This includes commonplace drug testing for prospective employees, as well as the testing of current employees suspected of using the drug.

The federal government, as well as people federally required to be tested for their jobs (such as CDL drivers) are exempt from this new rule.

Legal experts told 12 News Wednesday this law is truly one-of-a-kind here in the US.

“This is, it’s very different, it’s very new; I think that this is the most progressive law in the country right now,” said Leslie Silva, a partner for statewide firm Tully Rinckey. “New York is really at the forefront of this issue, we’re not seeing this yet in other states.”

Silva said employers can still fire you if they find the proof you are noticeably impaired while on the job; she added employers can still ban the possession or use of the drug on company property.

Silva said due to the uniqueness of the law, she expects to see legal challenges down the road.

According to the Department of Labor, individuals who are not legally considered employees (such as contractors) and individuals who are under the legal age of consumption (21) are not protected by the rule change.

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