In a move that furthers the acceptance of marijuana in mainstream American, the City Council of Philadelphia has voted to prohibit employers from requiring pre-employment drug screening tests.

With votes coming in 15 to 1, Bill No. 200625 prohibits “employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment, under certain terms and conditions.” Exceptions to the legislation include law enforcement, commercial drivers, child care providers, and medical providers. Applicants in these areas are subject to submitting drug tests under federal drug testing guidelines.

The Tide is Turning

The legislation in Philadelphia is part of a tidal wave of legislation that has passed in other municipalities, including Atlanta, New York, Washington D.C., and Richmond, VA. Additionally, the states of Maine and Nevada have both enacted state-wide legislation that bars certain employers from not hiring candidates solely because they test positive for marijuana as part of any pre-employment drug screening.

Marijuana and the Workplace

In December 2020, authors J. C. Zhang, N. Carnide, L.Holness, and P. Cram published their study’s findings in the journal Occupational Medicine. The published work, “Cannabis use and work-related injuries: a cross-sectional analysis,” the authors examined the relationship between cannabis and work-related injuries. 

The study had 136,536 working participants, of whom 2,577 had a work-related injury in the previous 12 months. Of those 2,577, 4% also reported using cannabis. The study’s authors found no association between cannabis use and work-related injuries. The publication’s abstract states, “We found no evidence that cannabis users experienced higher rates of work-related injuries. While awaiting prospective studies, occupational medicine practitioners should take a risk-based approach to drafting workplace cannabis policies.”

The Legalization Train

With each election cycle, more and more states are legalizing marijuana. According to Politico, “More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states — 18 in total — that have embraced full legalization. Roughly two-thirds of Americans back legal weed, according to polls.”

As states and municipalities continue to pass marijuana-friendly legislation, the federal government would be wise to catch up with the wishes of Americans who support legalization on a federal level.