First responders, such as EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel, are vital to a community’s safety and wellbeing. First responders need to be aware of their responsibilities when holding medical marijuana cards.
In this blog, we will explore EMT roles and different state laws regarding the marijuana usage by EMTs.
Understanding EMT Roles
EMTs respond to situations and offer the proper level of care, which frequently includes providing life-saving treatment. The following are additional crucial tasks and obligations for an EMT:
- When necessary, administer life-saving measures including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Determine a patient’s circumstances and administer initial care.
- Determine whether a patient needs to travel to a trauma center or the emergency room.
- Work 12-hour shifts, occasionally being on call for 24 hours.
Can An Emt Have A Medical Card?
No, you run the danger of losing your job and your license if you choose to use marijuana or THC, regardless of whether you live or work in a place where it is legal. Itâs always recommended to give up on using marijuana before joining an EMT team.
The Importance of Medical Fitness
Being an EMT demands physical stamina and agility to move swiftly, operate in tight locations, and lift patients. Due to the physical demands of their work, EMTs are more likely to sustain injuries.
According to a survey, up to 50% of ambulance workers sustain injuries from their jobs. Before being hired, EMTs must complete technical training and pass a physical examination.
To find out if they are color blind, they must undergo color vision exams since it may make it difficult for them to deliver the best possible patient care. While 20/20 vision is not a need for EMTs but they need to have decent vision to ensure that fatal errors are prevented.
EMTs should have strong stamina and endurance in addition to good vision because they frequently lift and transfer patients. They might occasionally need to kneel, bend, or work in odd positions.
They also need to have good muscular coordination because many of their tasks call for accuracy. It takes fine motor abilities to apply bandages or administer intravenous drugs, and it takes gross motor skills to move around in limited locations, carry patients and equipment, and climb stairs.
Do EMTs Get Drug Tested?
Yes. There are drug tests for EMTs and paramedics. It is done for the purpose of protecting patients’ safety and functional capacity.
Currently, there is no state law requiring employers to allow employees to consume medicinal marijuana at work or to be high while at work. Several states also permit employers to penalize any employee who uses medical marijuana outside of work hours.
In the states like Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming there is a zero tolerance policy which doesnât permit the medical marijuana consumption during work.
Federal Regulations and Licensing
In the US, THC and marijuana are still classified as Schedule 1 drugs by the federal government. Therefore, regardless of whether your state or town has deregulated it, if you work for an employer that accepts medical marijuana use, you are expected to adhere to federal rules and regulations which prohibits consuming marijuana.
Most employers conduct a drug test on you before hiring you. Regardless of whether marijuana is legal in your state, if you test positive at that time, you will not be hired. It still violates federal law.
Consulting Legal and Medical Professionals
When pursuing a career as an EMT while holding a medical marijuana card, it is important to seek advice from legal and medical professionals.
Legal consultation with employment lawyers can provide insights into local laws and regulations, as well as protections and limitations regarding medical marijuana use in the workplace. You can also get knowledge from the organizations like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Projects.
Along with legal consideration you should consult with healthcare providers and occupational health specialists to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the potential impact on health and job performance.
Resources such as the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and state health departments can provide industry-specific information. It is essential to consider state-specific laws, employer policies, and maintain confidentiality throughout these discussions.
This guidance is crucial for individuals to make informed decisions about pursuing an EMT career while holding a medical marijuana card, ensuring compliance with regulations and prioritizing both health and legal considerations.
State laws differ, yet they all are part of federal law. EMTs should therefore fall on the side of caution and refrain from using medical cannabis when applying for a job or while on the job.