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NYPD Marijuana Policies

Since 2016, marijuana use in New York has been legal for limited medical purposes.  In 2021, following legislation signed into law by the outgoing Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York — the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”) — became the 15th state, along with the District of Colombia, to legalize marijuana for recreational use.  According to the MRTA, protections for the use of cannabis are codified in, Section 201-d of the New York Labor Law which protects, amongst other activities, off-duty use of cannabis for employees.  As such, one would imagine if you were a resident of New York, you could light up when you are done working in the sanctity of your home without any risk of losing your job.  However, not if you are a member of law enforcement like the NYPD.

In July 2022, the New York City Law Department sent a memo to all city agencies it oversees including the NYPD to “cease all random, scheduled and pre-employment testing for marijuana.”  The memo’s intent was to align with the MRTA and prohibit adverse employment actions based on an employee’s use of recreational marijuana.  However, in the days following this memo, the NYPD reversed its policy and stated that “random, scheduled and for cause drug screening will remain in effect.”  This also meant that even if you are off duty, marijuana use would be regulated by these original drug testing standards.

Further entangling this issue, on October 6, 2022, President Biden instructed the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Attorney General to review how marijuana is classified under the federal drug laws, meaning it could very well soon be that we see marijuana moved from the Schedule I designation and potentially legalized at the federal level.  In the meantime, the MRTA is a new law and like any new law, the regulations regarding employment law are uncertain, including for police officers.

If you have any questions about your rights under the MRTA or believe that your employer took an adverse action against you, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C to schedule a free consultation through one of our websites, or, or any of our phone numbers: (516) 248-5550, or (516) ABOGADO.


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