In recent years, the acceptance and legalization of medical marijuana have grown exponentially, offering potential relief to countless patients. However, the relationship between having a Medical Marijuana Card and employment remains a complex and evolving issue.
While the state may protect the rights of Medical Marijuana users through its Medical Marijuana Program, the employers also have some rights that they can avail under the law as and when required.
Will the state offer me workplace protection as a Medical Marijuana Card holder?
The extent of employment protections for medical marijuana patients varies from state to state. Some states have taken steps to safeguard patients’ rights, providing legal shields against discriminatory actions based solely on an individual’s status as a Medical Marijuana user.
These states include Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Virginia.
However, it’s essential to remember that the specific language and extent of these protections differ in each state.
Unfortunately, not all states offer comprehensive protections for medical marijuana patients. Some may prevent employers from terminating employees based solely on a positive drug test, but they definitely lack broader safeguards for employees. The absence of a consistent Federal framework further increases the complexity of the issue, leaving employees and employers navigating a gray area.
Federal Law and Employment Protections
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. In an ideal world with Federal Marijuana legalization, Medical Cannabis could potentially qualify as a reasonable accommodation for patients. Unfortunately, since Cannabis remains federally illegal, such protections are not yet universally established.
Also, Federal workplaces or those with Federal contracts above $100,000 must adhere to strict drug policies, including drug testing. For individuals employed in industries closely connected to the Federal Government, Federal Laws get the obvious upper hand over State Laws.
Review Your Workplace Policies
Regardless of the state’s legal stance on Medical Marijuana, consuming Cannabis at the workplace is almost universally prohibited. Employers, both federal and private, enforce strict workplace drug policies, including drug testing. Even with medical marijuana protections in place, no employer would permit on-site cannabis consumption.
It’s crucial for employees to familiarize themselves with their workplace’s specific medical cannabis policies and drug testing protocols. While private employers may not be obligated to conduct drug tests, some choose to do so voluntarily.
Being informed and complying with company policies is essential to ensure legal compliance and protect one’s employment status. Also, it is a well-known fact that even with a valid Medical Marijuana Card, the cardholder is legally allowed to consume Medical Marijuana products only within the confinements of their personal residence in most US states.
Are Medical Marijuana Patients Exempt From Drug Tests?
Possessing a valid Medical Marijuana Card does not exempt an individual from mandatory drug tests. Even with a legitimate medical card, an employee may still be required to undergo drug testing. The consequences of a positive drug test or refusal to take one will depend on the state’s laws and the company’s drug policy.
In the majority of such cases, a positive drug test or refusing to take one doesnât end well for the employee ending up in some kind of penalty or even termination from the job in extreme cases.
There is still a lot of legal gray area that needs to be addressed within the US regarding the consumption and possession of Medical Marijuana. The state may provide an employee with legal protections and rights if they have a valid Medical Marijuana Card.
But to be on the safer side, it will be a wise thing for you to go through relevant legal resources and articles regarding this issue.