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Cannabis and Employment

Thinking about getting your medical marijuana card? Learn how that plays out with drug tests at work and protect your employment.

March 7, 2024
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If you are considering becoming a medical marijuana patient, your number one question may be, "Can cannabis impact my job?" It's a gray area with all the rules and regulations so we're going to break down what you need to know about workplace drug testing, how having a medical cannabis card might play into your employment, and the legal stuff that's good to have on your radar. Whether you're a medical marijuana newbie or a seasoned user, we will give you the lowdown on navigating cannabis in the world of employment.

Navigating Drug Testing Policies in the Workplace

So, you are thinking about getting your medical marijuana card, and you're wondering how that plays out with drug tests at work, right? Here's the deal: Many employers still do drug screenings. This is super common, especially in jobs where safety is a big deal, or when you're just getting hired. But here's the twist: Even with a legit medical cannabis card, some employers might not be cool with cannabis use.

Why? Well, it's a mix of legal stuff and company policy. For example, if you're working in transportation or healthcare, safety is a top priority, and they're pretty strict about drug use. But what if you're in a less safety-sensitive job? It really depends on the company. Some are more chill about it, especially in states where cannabis is legal, but others stick to a strict no-drug policy.

What can you do? First off, know your employer's policy inside out. If you're job hunting, it's a good idea to get the lowdown on their stance towards cannabis use during the hiring process. Being upfront and informed can save you from surprises down the line. And remember, while we're all for enjoying the benefits of medical cannabis, staying safe and informed in the workplace is the secret to success!

Insurance and Employment

Health insurance companies generally don't cover medical cannabis. It's still a federal no-go, which puts it outside most insurance policies. But what about your job? Will your boss find out about your medical cannabis use through insurance? Usually, your health info is pretty locked down, thanks to privacy laws like HIPAA. So, your employer typically won't know about your medical cannabis use unless you tell them or it shows up in a drug test.

Now, about health insurance at your job. You might wonder if your enrollment in a medical cannabis program could affect your coverage. Generally, employer-provided health insurance operates independently of your medical cannabis status. The primary concern here is about privacy - rest assured, health insurance companies are bound by strict privacy laws, meaning your cannabis use shouldn't be disclosed to your employer. However, it's wise to understand your specific health plan's stance on alternative treatments and medications.  

Legal Protection for Medical Cannabis Users in the Workplace

Legalities for medical marijuana users can be tricky, especially when it comes to your job. Here's the thing: the legal protections for medical cannabis users in the workplace are, frankly, a bit of a patchwork. Federal law still classifies cannabis as an illegal substance, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation at the state level and in individual workplaces.

In some states, some laws offer a degree of protection for medical cannabis users. However, in many places, these legal safeguards are either non-existent or not robust enough to prevent potential discrimination or job loss due to cannabis use.

The best strategy? Know the laws in your state like the back of your hand. If you're in a state with protections for medical cannabis users, understand precisely what those are. If your state's laws are more ambiguous, consulting with a legal expert might be worthwhile to know where you stand. And of course, open dialogue with your employer (if you feel comfortable) can clarify any concerns and help establish a mutual understanding.

Your Career and Cannabis

Navigating the workplace as a medical cannabis patient can be complex, but being armed with the correct information can make all the difference. Whether it's understanding your rights, your employer's policies, or the legal landscape, staying informed is going to keep you safe.

If you're considering becoming a medical cannabis patient or are looking for more guidance on balancing your health needs with your professional life, we're here to help. Check out our "Become A Patient" page for more information and resources.

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