Drug Testing

City officials have approved new municipal provisions suspending marijuana-specific pre-employment and random drug screenings for public employees in non-safety sensitive positions.

The new rules, which were approved by members of the St. Louis City Council in a 4-3 vote, stipulate, “No person currently employed by St. Louis County or applying for employment by St. Louis County shall be required to undergo pre-employment or random drug testing for the presence of marijuana metabolites (THC) as a condition or part of employment.” A representative for the city’s County Executive said told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he intends to sign the measure into law.

The move comes months after Kansas City council members approved a local ordinance halting pre-employment marijuana testing for most prospective government employees. Local lawmakers in several other cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, have recently enacted similar ordinances. Last week, council members in New Orleans advanced a similar proposal to the city’s Mayor and Civil Service Department for further consideration.

These citywide changes come as several states – such as Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Montana – have enacted legislation limiting employers’ ability to either pre-screen applicants for past marijuana use or refuse to hire them. New York’s policy further limits employers’ ability to sanction current employees for their off-hours marijuana use absent evidence of “articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment.”

“These decisions by state and municipal officials reflect today’s changing cultural landscape, particularly as it pertains to marijuana,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “These suspicionless drug testing policies were never evidence-based and have always been discriminatory. They are relics of the failed ‘war on drugs’ policies of the 1980s and it is time that we move beyond them.”

Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.’

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