FDNY to Stop Cannabis Testing

Things are happening in New York as we get closer to the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) issuing adult-use licenses: today (July 14, 2022), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) issued a memo to its branches stating that the FDNY stops cannabis testing for firefighters and applicants to the FDNY. The decision to stop testing is in conjunction with the New York City Law Department issuing “guidance that prohibits adverse employment actions based on off-hours marijuana usage.”

From a cultural perspective, this is a big deal. While New York City and Mayor Eric Adams have been vocal proponents of New York City embracing a legal cannabis industry, a traditionally conservative branch of municipal services like the FDNY embracing cannabis use (off-hours, of course) is a significant signpost. The change in testing policy isn’t immediate: the FDNY will issue guidance on the changes within 2 weeks. One other significant and understandable caveat: the FDNY will continue to test workers who are suspected of being intoxicated on the job.

Response to the New York City Law Department’s guidance was not uniform across municipal agencies. Notably, the New York City Policy Department has not yet announced implementing any policy changes and will be consulting with New York City as part of evaluating federal conflicts. It does warrant mentioning that the NYPD initially released its own statement revising its policies, before retracting the statement for further consideration.

The municipal agency announcements coming out of New York are just another exciting step towards a fully formed adult-use cannabis industry. On July 14, 2022, the CCB also held another board meeting in which the conditional adult-use retail dispensary rules and regulations were approved and revised medical rules and regulations were released. Stay tuned for our breakdown of the board meeting and of the rules and regulations!