If you apply for a job and you have a medical marijuana recommendation from your doctor can they hold it against you? I am getting ready to get hired somewhere and they drug test. I need to know if I am safe or not. Can you help?
Anonymous Employable Medical Marijuana Patient
Dear Employable Medical Marijuana Patient,
I have never personally taken a drug test for employment as I knew I would never pass one and therefore only applied for places that did not require one and tried to stick to the hemp, medical marijuana and fashion industries where medical marijuana is practically part of the creative process.
Obviously try to find a job that does not require a drug test (yes, they are out there!) but if you have no other options here are some things to know as a medical marijuana patient:
The Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Raich, held that employers were not required to hire an applicant who tests verified positive on a pre-employment drug test but provides a medical marijuana explanation for the positive laboratory test result.
Introduced this year is California SB 129, which establishes that an employer may not discriminate against an employee in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, if the discrimination is based on the employee’s status as a qualified medical cannabis patient who uses the doctor recommended cannabis medication outside of work and not during working hours in compliance with existing law. However it would not allow employees to be under the influence of marijuana while working, but would simply give patients the right to work.
SB 129 includes an exception for safety-sensitive positions, as defined in federal and state law, in which medical cannabis-affected performance could endanger the health and safety of others. Positions such as health care providers, school bus drivers, operators of heavy equipment, etc. are exempted to protect employers from liability and to ensure public safety. The bill reaffirms current law and does not prohibit an employer from terminating the employment of, or taking other corrective action against, a person who is impaired on the property or premises of the place of employment, or during the hours of employment, because of the medical use of marijuana. This bill has passed the senate committee but still needs to be voted on by the full State Senate.
Passage of the bill would be considered a big victory for the 400,000 medical marijuana patients that live in California. If you live in California, let your State Senator know you want them to vote yes on SB 129. Medical marijuana patients are productive members of society and don’t deserve to be discriminated against.
Any federal job (i.e. DMV, etc) requiring a federal contract is an automatic “NO” for medical marijuana patients as it is still deemed federally illegal and they definitely drug test. In any other case it is mainly up to the employer to decide if they want to be lenient on a medical marijuana patient for testing positive for THC as long as they don’t medicate while on the job.
I had an employer choose to require me go to a Marijuana Anonymous meeting to get over my “addiction” to my medically prescribed marijuana even though it did not effect my performance on the job but they technically get to do that since they held my livelihood in their hands. However if you are taking Marinol, which is a pharmaceutical schedule 3 drug, that would be okay in any case.
In conclusion at this very moment it is at your own risk as a medical marijuana patient medicating with the god given plant to apply for a job that drug tests and is not lenient or understanding about medical marijuana. Check out all the links below with useful tips and info and I wish you the best of luck finding employment as a patient!
Depending on the type of drug test you are taking here are some tips and tricks from CA NORML to fake a drug test: CA NORML Testing Tips
More useful links & sources on this subject:
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