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Philadelphia Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

Oh happy day! Philly joins New York City and the state of Nevada to prohibit outright pre-employment marijuana testing


On New Year’s Day, January 1, Philadelphia will prohibit most employers from requiring a marijuana drug test.

It’s the first law of its kind in Pennsylvania, reports KDKA.

Thirty-four states (including Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Nineteen states and DC have legalized adult-use Cannabis. Pennsylvania’s not yet one of those states.

The Persistence of THC

Marijuana will readily show up in a drug test – and that’s why Philadelphia acted. Since your body loves cannabinoids (and even manufactures its own), it holds onto them as long as it can. That’s why THC metabolites will usually show up for at least a month.

Since the “War On Drugs” in the Reagan 80s, many employers require both employees and applicants to take drug tests.

With a few exceptions, on Jan. 1, testing for marijuana will no longer be allowed by companies and other employers in Philadelphia.

The city of brotherly love will join New York City and the state of Nevada to prohibit outright pre-employment marijuana testing.

Signed Into Law Last April

The legislation – Bill No. 200625 – makes it illegal for employers in Philadelphia to require prospective employees to submit to drug testing for the presence of marijuana before hiring them for a job.

Signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on April 28, the ban exempts jobs such as police or law enforcement. It also exempts any position requiring a commercial driver’s license, and any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, and disabled or other vulnerable individuals.

In addition, the ban on pre-employment marijuana testing does not apply to “any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public, as determined by the enforcement agency and set forth in regulations pursuant to this Chapter,” according to the ordinance.

Philly Ordinance Exempts Federal, State Regulations

The drug testing ban doesn’t apply to any federal or state statute, regulation, or order that requires drug testing. It also doesn’t apply to any contract between the federal government and an employer; or any applicants whose prospective employer is a party to a valid collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses drug testing of applicants.

The ordinance defines “marijuana” as “all forms or varieties of the genus Cannabis, the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.”

The full text of the ordinance is available here.

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