As part of some its members’ mission to bring racial justice measures to the end of marijuana prohibition, the New York City Council may pass a law on Monday that would make illegal the hundreds of drug tests performed on residents who are on parole or probation.
“We all know that there’s no public safety value in violating people over low level marijuana offenses,” said Donovan Richards, a council member who chairs the public safety committee and proposed the bill. “Especially today when the state has already legalized medical marijuana and is talking about legalizing recreational use.”
Richards likened the parole/probation drug test as “one trap door that trips people up,” and said a negative marijuana test could get in the way of individuals working to get their lives back on track after being interrupted by incarceration. The New York Daily News published figures stating that 20,000 people were on probation in 2018, and among those 600 had to go through marijuana testing.
“We’re trying to build stable communities,” Richards said.
Council members have been among New York’s leaders in considering ways to counteract the racial equities of the War on Drugs throughout the process of legalizing cannabis.