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The chairwoman of Baltimore City Council’s labor committee wants to end testing candidates for many city jobs for marijuana use. In this 2018 file photo, a hemp plant is pollinated at Unique Botanicals in Springfield, Oregon.
The chairwoman of Baltimore City Council’s labor committee wants to end testing candidates for many city jobs for marijuana use. In this 2018 file photo, a hemp plant is pollinated at Unique Botanicals in Springfield, Oregon.

The chairwoman of the Baltimore City Council’s labor committee wants to stop testing candidates for many city jobs for marijuana use.

Democratic Councilwoman Shannon Sneed introduced a bill to ban such screening. She said Monday that the city should consider marijuana use more like alcohol use when it makes hiring decisions, leaving applicants’ consumption outside work a private matter.

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Sneed said she’s flagged job openings to people in her East Baltimore district only for them to tell her they wouldn’t be able to pass the drug test.

“If it came up in your system and you’re a good candidate, I would think we want the best candidate,” Sneed said.

The proposal would not stop testing for applicants for jobs with the fire department, the health department and positions that require a driver’s license.

The bill has attracted five co-sponsors.

While marijuana remains illegal for recreational purposes in Maryland, the state permits its use as a medication, and possession of small amounts is treated as a civil offense — rather than a criminal one.

Drug testing job candidates is common practice, but some places in the country are rethinking whether testing for marijuana should be allowed.

“If it came up in your system and you’re a good candidate, I would think we want the best candidate."


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This year, New York’s City Council and the Nevada legislature banned testing by most employers, including those in the private sector.

Sneed said she wrote her bill to apply only to city government because she thinks it’s lagging behind private employers.

The legislation wouldn’t apply to the police department because the council has no authority to pass rules for that agency. But in 2017, at the urging of then-Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, a state commission did soften rules on past marijuana usage by police recruits.

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