The Oakland City Council is moving forward with a proposal to end the practice of testing employees and prospective employees for traces of cannabis in their system.
The City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday voted 4-0 to bring Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s ordinance to the full council for approval. But first, city staff must meet and confer with labor unions that represent city workers about the policy change.
State law allows employers to perform “suspicionless” drug tests as a condition of employment, but Kaplan and others have said the city’s testing policy is outdated and out of touch with the majority of Oaklander’s views on cannabis.
Certain tests can unfairly punish workers or job applicants for using a legal substance while off work, supporters of the ban said Tuesday. Urine and hair samples, for example, reveal inactive drug residues that can stay in someone’s body for days or weeks, long after the drug’s effects are over. As a result, according to Kaplan, responsible cannabis consumers can be caught and punished for conduct that doesn’t harm or endanger anyone.