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Medical Marijuana and Employment Issues

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It should be noted that this article is for information purposes only and should not, under any circumstances, be accepted as legal advice or health advice.

Though many states have chosen to pass medical marijuana laws, this does not mean that all companies are supporting its use. Scientific studies have shown that medical marijuana, when used appropriately, can help some medical conditions, but employers who are concerned about employee drug use may not agree. Some medical marijuana patients may find themselves in trouble with their employers if they are not careful about their use, and documenting their usage. Every employer and situation is different, but being aware of possible issues is a good idea for any medical user.

The Legality of Medical Marijuana

Many states in the United States allow patients with a medical marijuana card to be able to use marijuana without any issue. The patients need to carry the card with them and only purchase the marijuana they use from licensed sellers. It is also the patient’s responsibility to use the drug as directed by their doctor, while also using the drug within the confines of their own home. Since the federal law in the United States has not legalized the use of marijuana, the state laws can only go so far to protect patients. Sometimes, the patients may still find themselves in legal trouble if the federal laws are enacted and they are caught with a larger amount of marijuana than they are allowed to have.

Choosing to Use Marijuana

Patients who are prescribed medical marijuana are supposed to be able to use their marijuana as directed. However, when patients use their drug before a work shift and they encounter issues at work, this can cause troubles. Some employees have been let go because using the marijuana is a violation of the drug use policy. Companies that have these policies are able to enforce them, causing employees to be suspended or terminated. If a patient is able to work without anyone realizing they are using marijuana, it might not be problematic, or even noticeable.

A Doctor’s Note

It never hurts to have a doctor’s note for the use of medical marijuana. A patient might want to share this note with their employer to let them know of their medical status, but assure their employer that this usage will not impact their daily functioning while on the job. Other patients may opt to not alert their employer, as they might feel this is a violation of their privacy to share their medical issues with the employer. In any case, the patient should have the proper medical documentation available at all times to help them if an issue should arise.

Using medical marijuana is a personal choice that is discussed between a patient and their physician. Though the doctor might approve the usage, the approval of an employer may not be as simple to procure. Knowing the potential issues will help you begin to determine how you want to approach the issues with your manager. Though the topic is sticky and difficult to navigate, honesty is often the best policy.

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