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Philadelphia Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

July 29, 2021 Workplace Discrimination

Your New Rights Under the Law

It’s not uncommon for job applicants to be subjected to drug testing for marijuana use as part of the hiring process. However, in Philadelphia, it will soon be unlawful for many employers to make job applicants take these tests.

Earlier this year, the city of Philadelphia introduced a law that prevents employers from testing prospective hires for marijuana as a condition of employment. It will take effect on January 1, 2022. Here’s an overview of new employee rights under this law.

What’s in the Law 

According to the law—Chapter 9-4700 of the Philadelphia Code—it will now be unlawful for employers in Philadelphia to require a job prospect to undergo marijuana drug testing as a hiring requirement. This is also true for labor organizations, employment agencies, or their agents.

Exceptions to the Law

However, there are some situations where employers are still allowed to test prospective employees for marijuana use. Generally, these exceptions apply to specific positions, such as:

  • Police officers and law enforcement.
  • Jobs that require a commercial driver’s license.
  • Positions that involve caring for children, disabled people, medical patients, or other at-risk individuals.
  • Any job that could have a significant impact on the health and safety of other employees or the public.

The last item on the list is fairly broad. Under the law, the definition of “a job that could have a significant impact on the health and safety of other employees or the public” should be determined by an enforcement agency.

As of this writing, no enforcement agency has issued a concrete definition. So it’s still uncertain which positions will fall under this exception.

State and Federal Exceptions 

In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that this law only pertains to employers in Philadelphia. Marijuana use still remains illegal at the federal level, and employers in Pennsylvania as a whole can still test for marijuana.

The new Philadelphia law does not override situations including:

  • State and federal laws that require drug testing of prospective employees.
  • Federal contractors operating in Philadelphia who are required to abide by federal laws with regard to marijuana use in the workplace.
  • Contractors who have a grant from the federal government that requires drug testing of new hires as a condition of the grant.
  • Hiring companies operating under collective bargaining agreements where pre-employment drug testing was previously agreed to.

Questions About Pre-Employment Drug Testing? Talk to an Employment Lawyer 

If you have questions about your rights with regard to marijuana testing and use in the workplace, you should speak to an employment attorney.

A knowledgeable employment attorney familiar with Philadelphia law can help you navigate the complexities of employment rights for marijuana users, determine whether your rights have been violated, and help you pursue legal remedies.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.