Stoned At Work

New York’s city council bans employers from testing for pot use, which will lead to nothing but trouble.

Marijuana use remains illegal in New York State, but the New York City council has voted to ban employers from testing job applicants for pot use as a condition of employment. Though the new law exempts certain employers from the ban, including transportation firms and federal contractors obligated to test for drugs, the council’s action is virtually unprecedented. Some courts in other states have ruled that workers using marijuana under medical supervision can’t be fired, but no other jurisdiction has so broadly banned preemployment testing. Advocates say that the new law will end the “stigma” associated with pot use, and they claim that testing for marijuana isn’t a good predictor of employee performance. But as with many of the arguments for legalization, these are dubious claims. The council’s action ignores substantial and growing evidence from scientific journals of pot’s negative effects, especially on younger people. And by telling employers whom they must hire, the council disregards the costs that marijuana use can inflict on a workplace.