BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday announced a new policy to remove pre-employment drug tests and alcohol screenings from Baltimore City jobs.

The change will affect non-safety sensitive positions, meaning the new law will not cover jobs in which employees must use their full unimpaired skills to avoid a danger, like operating heavy machinery or driving.

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The policy, known as Administrative Manual Policy 205-8. was approved by the Board of Estimates, and is slated to go into effect immediately.

Besides helping fill city service positions, the decision to scrap pre-employment screenings is in line with Scott’s campaign promise to remove inequitable barriers from the job application process.

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“We want the best and brightest candidates to help us provide efficient and effective City services to our residents,” the mayor said. “Frankly, the outdated and costly pre-employment drug and alcohol screenings only served to block qualified and passionate residents from obtaining employment with the City.”

This move comes at a time of shifting state legislation around drugs. Over two-thirds of U.S. states have medical cannabis laws in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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“This policy disproportionately harmed the prospects of talented Black and Brown job candidates,” Scott said. “I am grateful that we are making this change now so that we can continue to improve local government operations and better serve the people of Baltimore.”

CBS Baltimore Staff