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NYFD, NYPD Update Policies on Drug Testing Based on Legalization

A recent memo released by the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) leaked information regarding employee drug testing in the state of New York.

New legislation in the state of New York has prompted state institutions to follow suit in their policies and practices.

For anti-prohibitionists and activists for the regulated marijuana market, this comes as yet another welcome step forward. Now, in the same way a police officer or firefighter might kick their feet up and enjoy a cold beer on their day off, they may choose to do the same with a joint or an edible.

Get With The Memo

According to the UFA, the NYPD has deemed it unlawful to request that officers be preemptively or randomly tested for THC. The new attitude comes as legislation in the state shifts its focus on a legalized market.

According to Marijuana Moment, the “UFA said that it believes the directive is the product of the union’s inquiries to the city about drug testing policy in light of New York’s marijuana legalization law.”

After the information was leaked, the NYPD released another statement where they emphasized that no changes have been implemented at this time and that it will be liaising with the city in order to make sure the Department stays in compliance.

Response New Legislation

A Response To New Legislation

Regardless of how the new reform plays out, both the NYPD and the NYFD made it abundantly clear that they would continue to test employees whom they suspect are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

These changes come over a year after the NYPD released new instructions to officers informing them that, now that cannabis is legal for adult use, officers cannot arrest adults 21 and older just for consuming marijuana in settings where smoking tobacco is permitted.

Separately, the state Department of Labor said last year in advice that, with few exceptions, New York companies are no longer permitted to drug test most employees for marijuana. Even before legalization, New York City officials imposed a municipal prohibition on cannabis pre-employment drug testing.

spearheaders movement actions NYPD

A Common Sense Approach

For spearheaders of the movement, the actions of the NYPD and NYFD are an obvious choice. Of course, as times continue to change within state legislation, it’s paramount that powerful institutions follow suit and act in accordance with the law.

Fundamentally, enforcing strict regimes around marijuana use for employees in a state where consumption of the plant is legal contradicts the rights of workers involved.

As previously mentioned, the reform would not condone professionals who are under the influence while on the job but would instead not reprimand them for what they choose to do when they’re off the clock.

Still, Some Controversy

There has been considerable policy dispute in relation to cannabis regulations, especially in neighboring New Jersey, following the state’s vote to legalize.

In May, New Jersey lawmakers filed a series of reforms aimed at allowing companies to penalize employees who use marijuana off-duty in accordance with state law, especially police enforcement and other first responders.

The bill was introduced after the state attorney general’s office issued a paper outlining how New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis statute now enables police officers to consume marijuana while they are not on the job.

Retail cannabis businesses in New York have yet to open since officials are still trying to establish laws and begin approving licenses. Still, adults 21 and older can possess and openly use marijuana, as well as gift it to other adults, as long as they are not given money or products as compensation.

Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!

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