The New York Fire Department (NYFD) will no longer drug test its employees for Cannabis. The decision, based on the state’s adult-use marijuana law, prevents the NYFD from conducting pre-employment testing for THC as well as random or scheduled Cannabis tests.
New York City already banned employers from drug testing for THC, with limited exceptions for safety-sensitive positions. In fact, the city outlawed pre-employment testing for pot prior to passing its recreational Cannabis law. Now, like most other New Yorkers, firefighters can consume Cannabis during off hours without fear of reprisal from their employer – meaning they’re free to blaze when they’re not battling a blaze.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) issued a similar statement, suggesting that police would not be subject to screenings for THC consumption. However, the department quickly backtracked, clarifying that no official changes had been made to their drug testing policy. The NYPD cited concerns over federal conflicts, which has become the go-to move to avoid changing pot policies.
Fortunately, the Fire Department will move forward with its policy change. However, the NYFD union asked its members to “wait until the Department announced the official changes before considering any legal recreational or medicinal marijuana use.”
Of course, firefighters and cops are subject to drug screening if they’re suspected of being high while on duty.
New Jersey Officials Attempt to Restrict Pot Use
Meanwhile, west of the Hudson River in neighboring New Jersey, lawmakers are hard at work crafting legislation that will make it easier for employers to punish people for consuming Cannabis while off duty – despite marijuana being legal in the Garden State.
Three bills introduced in New Jersey’s legislature specifically target off-duty Cannabis use by police and first responders. Lawmakers decided to intervene after the state attorney general announced that, as written, New Jersey’s adult-use law allows cops to consume Cannabis while off duty. The state’s pro-pot governor Phil Murphy has expressed his support for restricting pot use by police.