Some of Wall Street's most prestigious banks no longer screen applicants for marijuana use. Here's where 7 of the largest firms stand on drug testing.

  • A law went into effect in New York City in May that prevents employers from screening applicants for marijuana use. 
  • Business Insider asked seven of the largest banks with major offices in New York City whether they still test job applicants for marijuana use.
  • Of the ones that responded, none screen applicants for THC use any longer. Some have removed drug testing entirely. 
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As attitudes shift toward cannabis legalization in the US, pre-employment drug tests are becoming a thing of the past.  

New York's City Council passed a bill in April of last year that bars employers in the city from forcing job applicants to take drug tests for marijuana use. The bill, which went into effect in May, does make exceptions for drug testing in "safety-sensitive" industries like law enforcement and construction.

Many of the world's largest banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, are either headquartered in New York or have large offices there, meaning that this shift affects a significant portion of their talent pool and hiring practices. 

To put together this story, Business Insider reached out to the largest investment banks with a significant presence in New York City. When the banks didn't want to comment, Business Insider reached out to insiders with knowledge of the firm's policies. 

Read more: Some cannabis stocks now have the green light from US wealth managers like Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Wells Fargo. We have details on firms' policies.

For the most part, these employers no longer screen applicants for marijuana use. 

As Business Insider reported last year, it's natural that some of the country's largest and most prestigious employers are reevaluating their policies on testing job applicants and recent hires for a substance that is now legal for recreational use in Canada and 11 states and for medical use in more than 30 states.

While New York state does not yet have a commercial marijuana market it's clear that legalization is on the state's doorstep. Governor Andrew Cuomo has supported the idea in the past, though the state's legislature didn't pass legalization this year due to the pandemic. Adding to the pressure on New York, neighboring Massachusetts has legalized cannabis, and New Jersey residents will vote on whether to legalize marijuana in the state in November.

Here are the policies that each bank has on testing applicants for marijuana and drug use. If you're on the job hunt, read on:

Note: This story is an update to a story we published last year, prior to the law going into effect.  

Bank of America does not screen job applicants or new hires for drug use.

A Bank of America spokesperson said the bank does not test job applicants or new hires for drug use, and hasn't in the past.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-headquartered bank has not had to change its policies in light of the New York City rule, the spokesperson said.

Last year, the bank initiated coverage on a number of Canadian cannabis stocks, including Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Hexo Corp, and Cronos Group. The bank also provided financing to Constellation on the purchase of an equity stake in Canopy Growth.

 

Citigroup no longer tests job applicants for marijuana use, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Citigroup no longer tests job applicants for marijuana use as part of the hiring process, a person familiar with the matter said.

The person added that the bank follows the New York City law, though there are exceptions for positions tied to federal contracts or for jobs where childcare or operating heavy machinery are core functions, as per the New York law.

Last year, Business Insider reported that Citigroup was reevaluating its stance on testing job applicants for marijuana use. The bank also held high-level discussions last year among senior executives about how closely it should work with the cannabis industry or clients interested in doing cannabis deals, as Business Insider reported. 

 

Credit Suisse declined to discuss its firmwide drug testing policies with Business Insider.

Credit Suisse, a Zurich-based bank with significant operations in New York City, declined to discuss its pre-employment drug testing policies with Business Insider.

The bank has made some inroads into the burgeoning cannabis industry, however.

In August of last year, Credit Suisse acted as the sole book-runner on the Silver Spike Capital's $250 million cannabis-focused SPAC offering, becoming the first bulge bracket investment bank to lead a US cannabis offering.

 

Goldman Sachs has not tested job applicants or new hires for marijuana or any other drugs for over a year, a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs told Business Insider that the bank has not tested new hires for marijuana use, or drug use more broadly, in over a year.

Last year, prior to the New York City law taking effect, a Goldman spokesperson said the bank does drug test new hires, though the screening process did not include marijuana, per Business Insider's reporting. 

Goldman, for its part, was instrumental in one of the biggest deals in the cannabis industry to date. The bank advised Constellation Brands, an existing client, on the $4 billion purchase of an equity stake in Canadian marijuana cultivator Canopy Growth. Constellation is known for its beers like Corona and Modelo.

JPMorgan Chase declined to comment on its drug testing policies.

A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase declined to comment to Business Insider for this story. 

A document obtained last year by Business Insider showed that JPMorgan did urine test all of its supplier's employees, at the supplier's expense, at a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) certified site. 

JPMorgan, however, is starting to make inroads into the cannabis industry. The bank provided financing to Altria Group for its purchase of a minority stake in Canadian pot producer Cronos Group in December or 2018. 

Morgan Stanley doesn't test job applicants for marijuana or any other drugs.

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson told Business Insider that the bank does not test employees or job applicants for marijuana use. The spokesperson added that the policy has not changed in recent years.

At Morgan Stanley's wealth management division, financial advisers have been responding to client questions about cannabis on a case-by-case basis, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider last November, which has allowed for investments in some Canadian-listed cannabis stocks.

Morgan Stanley advisers can make those investments for clients if the request comes unsolicited from the client or comes as an adviser recommendation that has been preapproved by the firm.

 

 

Wells Fargo doesn't drug test new hires, a spokesperson said.

Wells Fargo doesn't drug test as a condition of getting hired, but the San Francisco-based bank has a zero-tolerance policy for substances, a spokesperson told Business Insider.

"Wells Fargo is dedicated to maintaining a drug-free workplace," the spokesperson said in a statement. "All employees are prohibited from working or reporting to work when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Drug testing is not part of our pre-employment eligibility review."

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