PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- This Saturday, Jan. 1, Philadelphia will implement a new ordinance that prohibits most employers from requiring a marijuana drug test.
As money editor Jon Delano explains, it's the first of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana use, including Pennsylvania. Nineteen states and the District have legalized recreational marijuana, but not Pennsylvania.
Whether you use cannabis recreationally or medically, it will show up in a drug test – and that's why Philadelphia acted.
Since the so-called war on drugs back in the 1980s, many employers have required both their employees and prospective job applicants to take drug tests.
With a few exceptions, on January 1st, testing for marijuana will no longer be allowed by companies and other employers in Philadelphia.
The city of brotherly love will join New York City and the state of Nevada to prohibit outright pre-employment marijuana testing.
There are some exceptions for employees working in law enforcement, drivers with a commercial driving license, and those who care for medical patients, children, and persons with disabilities.
Philadelphia City Councilmember Derek Green, who wrote the ordinance that was approved last April and takes effect on New Years Day, said his focus was medical marijuana.
"Cannabis is a unique product. Unlike alcohol and others, it metabolizes in your system a lot differently," Green said.
"We're having this conversation across the commonwealth and in the general assembly about whether we allow adult-use cannabis."
"But for me, those who really need medical marijuana, especially to improve their quality of life, shouldn't be restricted from getting a job because that's what we all want to see."
Again, this ordinance only applies to employers in Philadelphia. Local cannabis advocates here tell KDKA they're evaluating to see whether to push this in Pittsburgh.
One final note, employers are still allowed to test for other drugs and prohibit marijuana use on the job site.
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