Philadelphia Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Screening

June 2nd, 2021 | Chris Christian, Director of Compliance

On April 28, 2021 Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill No. 200625 into law, amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions”, by adding a new Chapter 9-4700, to prohibit employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment, under certain terms and conditions. The new law does not prevent an employer’s ability to test current employers for marijuana use.

The new law does have limited exceptions and does not apply to certain jobs or positions:

  • Police officer or other law enforcement positions;
  • Any position requiring a commercial driver’s license;
  • Any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals;
  • 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.

Furthermore, the new law does not apply to drug testing required related to the following:

  • Any federal or state statute, regulation, or order that requires drug testing of prospective employees for purposes of safety or security;
  • Any contract between the federal government and an employer or any grant of financial assistance from the federal government to an employer that requires drug testing of prospective employees as a condition of receiving the contract or grant; or
  • Any applicants whose prospective employer is a party to a valid collective bargaining agreement that specifically addresses the pre-employment drug testing of such applicants.

The new law also indicates that additional regulations are forthcoming which may provide further guidance on certain jobs or positions that are exempted. Philadelphia joins other cities and states such as New York City, Atlanta, Maine and Washington, D.C to restrict marijuana drug screening for pre-employment purposes.

The new law takes effect January 1, 2022. The full text of Bill No. 200625 can be found here.

Philadelphia employers should review their drug and background screening policies and programs in light of the new law. Employers should also consult with their legal counsel when considering updating their drug and background screening policies and programs.

The Information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel about the impacts of any requirements. This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website:

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