BALTIMORE — Shannon Sneed said she has always been a "goodie two-shoes" who has never smoked marijuana and didn't drink alcohol socially until well after college.

"I was always the designated driver for my friends," she laughed.

Perhaps then Sneed would seem an unlikely candidate to propose a ban on pre-employment marijuana testing for most types of municipal employment in Baltimore, but she says the issue is about jobs, not drugs.

"In my community where we suffer the highest rate of unemployment," Sneed said of her East Baltimore constituents. "I'm asking folks basically look at it as drinking alcohol. Some folks have a drink every day after work for themselves. And some people have smoke weed on weekends."

Shannon Sneed
Baltimore City Council Member Shannon Sneed

Sneed said those should not be disqualifiers for city jobs that do not involved driving, operating machinery, firefighting or law enforcement, particularly in an era where at least 70,000 Maryland residents are now medically qualified to use marijuana legally.

Sneed introduced a bill this week to eliminate pre-employment marijuana testing for most city jobs in Baltimore.

Among her constituents is 34-year-old Jamar Kennedy, who says convictions and his marijuana use have restricted him to temporary food service work.

Kennedy is currently working on expunging his record and says Sneed's bill may clear yet another hurdle to his desire to become a full-time city sanitation worker with benefits.

"I've applied several times and I got denied due to marijuana," Kennedy said.

"It should be legal," he added.  

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