Can Medical Marijuana Get You Fired? Depends on the State.

May 15th, 2019 by admin Leave a reply »


  • Of the 33 states where medical marijuana is legal, 14 protect patients from employment discrimination.
  • Recent court rulings signal a potential shift in favor of employees.
  • Even where employment protections exist, they have limitations.

In most states, you can use medical marijuana without getting arrested — but it could still get you fired.

While 33 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, fewer than half of them protect patients from being fired or rejected for a job because of a positive cannabis test or simply because they’re registered on a medical marijuana database. This legal haziness has sparked lawsuits across the country.

Courts have generally sided with employers, says Peter Meyers, a law professor at George Washington University. This was the case in 2006 in Oregon and in 2009 in Montana. More recently, however, judges have shifted their verdicts in favor of employees.

In New Jersey last month, an appeals court ruled that medical marijuana use is covered under the state’s ban on disability-based employment discrimination. This case follows similar rulings in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As more states legalize the drug treatment, the battle will continue in the workplace.

“The big problem is [marijuana] remains illegal federally except for narrow exceptions,” says Meyers, who has written about the constitutionality of drug testing. “There’s this conflict, and a lot of the court rulings have deferred to federal law. It’s a very confusing situation.”

The legal contradiction has left a lot of employers, and employees, uncertain about what rules to follow.

Bipartisan legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from

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