NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A City Council committee has unanimously approved a bill that would bar the city from testing parolees for marijuana use.
Public Safety Committee Chair Donovan Richards says 20,000 people were on probation in New York last year -- 600 were tested for marijuana use and 271 were put back behind bars over a marijuana infraction.
"Remember, these are people who are otherwise not violating their probation conditions. That means they are working or seeking work, avoiding police contact and following all the conditions set-out for them by their probation officers," Richards said. "These are people who don't need marijuana testing to keep them on a straight path."
Richards says five former city probation commissioners and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman all have agreed that testing parolees for marijuana serves no useful purpose.
"The passage of this bill would help close one trapdoor that too many people have fallen into while working to lead a better life for themselves and their families," Richards said.