Medical Marijuana is currently legal in 14 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Many other states are also considering legalizing cannabis for medical use. However, some users are still facing dire consequences for using marijuana, even if they are legally able to do so.
On multiple occasions, employers have terminated or failed to hire applicants for failing a drug test. This wouldn’t be considered out of the ordinary, except for the fact that these employees were legally authorized to use marijuana. What’s more is that there are few marijuana laws to protect employees. Even though the medical use of marijuana has been legalized, steps have not been taken to protect patients.
This is an unfortunate, and hopefully temporary, consequence of using medicinal marijuana. This is also a consequence that many patients fail to consider. While the possibility of work related problems should not stop people from using the cannabis they are legally prescribed to, workers will need to take a few precautions to protect themselves.
Two Tips for Medical Marijuana Users:
— Know your rights.
Different states have different regulations concerning marijuana in the workplace. In Montana, the use of medical marijuana cannot be penalized by employers. In Arizona, employers must allow authorized employees to use medicinal cannabis while working. Maine strictly prohibits marijuana use in the workplace, but allows the use of medical marijuana outside of work.
California marijuana laws are also confusing. There are no laws protecting employees, but since lawsuits have been widely publicized in the past, employers are less inclined to penalize employees that use medical marijuana. Regardless of where you live, make sure to check the laws concerning medical cannabis and employment. The best way to protect yourself is to know what is within your rights.
— Do not go into work impaired.
Many employers are afraid that the effects of marijuana will put an employee in danger. Many fear that if an employee goes into work impaired, they will be unable to do their job or be a danger to those around them. Even if an employee has a marijuana card, some employers are very much against their employees using marijuana.
The best way to protect yourself in this situation is to avoid going into work under the influence of marijuana. Refrain from using prescription marijuana a few hours prior to going into work if you live in a state where an employer can penalize marijuana use. While this may be difficult, especially if you are dealing with constant pain or another debilitating condition, it may be necessary. It is important for employees to prove that using medical marijuana does not make them irresponsible and that the substance does not interfere with their performance on the job.