NEW YORK (PIX11) — The NYPD will continue to randomly test its employees for marijuana, despite a directive from the city’s law department that ordered the practice be halted.
A confidential memo from the city’s law department to police brass that PIX11 News has obtained from sources said, “…starting immediately, the department should only drug test a member of service for marijuana if there is reasonable suspicion that the member is impaired by marijuana on the job.”
The memo, dated July 11, cited the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act or MRTA which went into effect in April 2021. The ACT essentially stops adverse employment actions based on recreational marijuana use. In the memo, the city said the rationale for the change is that there is no test for the drug that can determine current intoxication levels. That makes it difficult to know whether an employee is testing positive for marijuana because they consumed it on the job or while off-duty.
At first, the NYPD acknowledged the order. It sent out a statement saying, “The New York City Law Department has directed the NYPD to cease all random, scheduled and pre-employment testing for marijuana.”
But just an hour later, another NYPD statement was released that appears to backpedal. It read, in part, “We are in consultation with the Law Department over conflicts with the new state law and pre-existing federal law. While these discussions continue, there is no change in NYPD policies, procedures, or testing protocols…”
Meantime, the FDNY is also impacted. The Uniformed Firefighters Association also released a statement to its union members.
“We have been informed that the department will no longer randomly test members for marijuana use,” according to the union. “We are asking all members to wait until the department announces the official change before considering any legal recreational or medicinal marijuana use.”
The union said new guidelines should be out within the next few weeks. PIX11 News reached out to the FDNY for its response. The department directed us to the city’s law department.