While Medical Marijuana Becomes More Mainstream…You Might Want to Think Twice About it


Just because your state may have passed Recreation Marijuana laws, it doesn’t mean employers aren’t still conducting regular drug tests for that and other drugs. In most companies that require drug testing, the use of marijuana medically and recreationally, will disqualify you for the job.

Even with Medical Marijuana, you may want to consider the impact of the use and plan accordingly when it comes to your job search and continued career advancement. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind.

States Allowing Recreational Marijuana

There are only a handful of states so far that allow recreational marijuana. It is important to know that just because recreational marijuana is legal, that companies can (and still do) drug test and base employment on the use of the drug. The states allowing recreational marijuana are:

  • Washington State
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Colorado
  • Alaska
  • Washington DC

States Allowing Medical Marijuana

Medicinal marijuana, which is also allowed in the states where recreational is legal, is in more places. This means that users have to have a card that allows them a prescription to obtain the drug from dispensaries. States allowing medical marijuana are.

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Montana
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Hawaii
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine

Federal Versus State Laws About Marijuana

The most interesting thing to note is that in spite of marijuana being legal for either recreational or medical use at the state level in various places, the federal government does not recognize or protect individuals who possess or use the drug.

According to the Controlled Substances Act, Marijuana is still recognized as a Schedule 1 drug, which has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Even with this discrepancy, it is highly unlikely that a medical marijuana user will be penalized for possession.

Medical Marijuana and the Impact on Employers

Even though marijuana is legal in many states, companies do not have to dismantle their drug-free workplace policies. That said, before considering either using the drug for medicinal purposes or recreationally on the weekend, make sure you understand your company policies.

In states where medicinal marijuana is legalized, considering meeting with your boss or immediate supervisor and discuss the circumstances around your prescription. While employers are not mandated to relax their workplace drug policies, for specific situations and circumstances exceptions can be made. Being upfront with your employer, in private, can make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to marijuana usage.

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