Sanctuary Wellness Institute
Close this search box.

Can an Employer Deny Employment for Medical Marijuana?

Can an Employer Deny Employment for Medical Marijuana
Table of Contents

In recent years, the conversation around medical marijuana and its place in the workplace has become increasingly complex. With more states legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, many have begun to wonder whether potential employers can deny them a job due to their use of medical marijuana.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of employment law as it pertains to medical marijuana, examining the rights of employees and the responsibilities of employers.

Can I Be Denied a Job if I Have a Medical Marijuana Card?

In most circumstances, having a medical marijuana card does not provide legal grounds for an employer to deny you employment. However, it’s important to note that there are exceptions, such as when it comes to positions that require operating heavy machinery.

Which States Protect Medical Marijuana Patients from Discrimination?

Numerous states have enacted laws to protect medical marijuana patients from discrimination. These protections vary from state to state, but most safeguard MMJ cardholders from being denied employment, penalized at work, or terminated for owning a card. Some also protect cardholders from being fired due to marijuana use outside of the workplace.

The following states enforce such protections:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia
Can My Employer See That I Have a Medical Marijuana Card

Can My Employer See That I Have a Medical Marijuana Card?

In most cases, employers cannot see that you have an MMJ card, whether on a background check or in another forum. This is because health information, including one’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder, is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

However, if you apply for a federal position, your status as a cardholder may show up on your background check.

Are Medical Marijuana Patients Exempt from Drug Tests?

Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, being a medical marijuana patient does not exempt you from workplace drug tests. Employers have the right to maintain drug-free workplaces to ensure safety, productivity, and compliance with federal law.

That said, some states protect MMJ cardholders from being penalized for positive drug tests.

Can I Be Fired for Using Medical Marijuana?

Whether you can be fired for using medical marijuana depends on the state you live in and your employer’s drug policies.

Some states have laws in place that protect medical marijuana users from employment discrimination, meaning you cannot be fired for having a prescription or using marijuana in your private life (as long as that use doesn’t affect your job performance).

However, other states also allow employers to enforce zero-tolerance drug policies, even against MMJ patients. If you live in one of these states, your employer could fire you if you fail a drug test due to cannabis use.

Should I Tell My Employer That I Have a Medical Marijuana Card?

When deciding whether to inform your employer about having a medical marijuana card, it’s important to review their drug policies and your state’s laws regarding medical marijuana use. Be sure to consider how such a disclosure could impact your employment. It’s critical to know your rights and responsibilities.

Can CBD Stop You from Getting a Job?

CBD is legal in many states, but CBD products contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or the psychoactive compound in cannabis that most drug tests screen for.

While legal CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight in the United States, consumption of high doses can result in a positive drug test, which can give your employer license to penalize or terminate you.


Employment protections for medical marijuana patients vary from state to state. Some protect those with MMJ cards from employment discrimination, while others don’t. And since medical cannabis patients aren’t exempt from drug tests, it’s important to be mindful of where and when you use marijuana while employed.

Even CBD products can affect your employability if you consume too much of them. For all of these reasons, it’s vital to stay up to date on your home state’s drug legislation and your employer’s drug policies.

If you’re interested in using medical marijuana to treat a qualifying condition, the Sanctuary Wellness Institute can help you get started. Not only can we connect you with a certified medical marijuana doctor, but we can also guide you through the process of applying for an MMJ card in your home state. Book an appointment with the Sanctuary today to commence your medical marijuana journey.

How we reviewed this article:

Other Posts from Medical Marijuana