Philadelphia has banned pre-employment cannabis drug testing


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On April 22, 2021, Bill No. 200625 was approved and adopted by the City Council of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This influential piece of legislation officially outlawed pre-employment cannabis drug testing procedures. 

Fully effective on January 1, 2022, the ordinance was signed into law by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on April 28. However, as part of the ban, medical patients and disabled/vulnerable individuals will still be required to undergo pre-employment cannabis drug testing. 

Exemptions will also apply to prospective employees who are seeking out a role in law enforcement, as well as those who require a commercial driver’s license to work and/or are responsible for supervising/caring for children.

Currently, cannabis in Pennsylvania remains illegal for recreational purposes. However, possession of small amounts has been decriminalized in a handful of the state’s largest metropolitan regions. Medical cannabis use was legalized via a state legislature-passed bill in 2016.

Other key facets of Philadelphia’s ban on pre-employment cannabis drug testing

The ordinance states that “any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public, as determined by the enforcement agency and set forth in regulations pursuant to this Chapter” is exempt from the ban on pre-employment cannabis testing.

Moreover, the ordinance clarifies that Philadelphia’s ban on cannabis drug testing is not targeted towards the following: 

  • Any potential employees/applicants whose probable employer is affiliated with a credible joint bargaining agreement highlighting applicant drug testing requirements;
  • any federal or state order, regulation or state statute, regulation or order that instructs prospective employees to undergo drug testing;
  • any contract between the employer and federal government.

Cannabis’ definition, as per Philadephia’s industry rules and regulations, reads as follows: “all forms or varieties of the genus Cannabis, the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.” 

Numerous U.S. states will embrace cannabis liberalization in the New Year 

Philadelphia’s cannabis industry is thriving. Based on a report published in August by the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, the market has generated $3.4 billion in sales since 2018. These figures are certainly serving as inspiration for other U.S. states to liberalize cannabis.

In fact, a few have already taken the first step to creating a real legal change in 2022. Namely, Arkansas State lawmakers approved a pair of bills last year to broaden patient access to medicinal cannabis products, while California’s health care facilities have been informed that they must grant end-of-life patients the option to consume certain cannabis products in 2022.

Plus, as of January 1, herbal formulations are legal to purchase by Louisianans who qualify to receive medical cannabis. From the same date, licensed cannabis retailers in Montana can serve adult-use cannabis products to consumers of legal age.