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Medical marijuana in Missouri has been on a long journey since 2014. The laws regarding possession were loosened in that year, and in 2018 Missourians were approved the right to use medical marijuana in the state. The changes to the Amendment 2 that allowed for the use of medical marijuana came into effect in late 2019. Licenses for dispensaries, labs, and producers were given out by the state going into 2020. Now, those who need MMJ to help manage a debilitating or chronic disease have access to the medicine they require.
Qualifying patients can now request the use of medical marijuana from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the government organization that oversees the MMJ program, applications, and licensing for patients, caregivers, and businesses. Having an approved condition doesn’t automatically grant someone access to medical marijuana, but upon an approved application, they can possess up to four ounces, the equivalent of a 30-day supply.
Someone who is approved and uses medical marijuana to help treat their condition might wonder how that might affect their employment. So can your employer ask you if you have an MMJ card in Missouri? And can using medical marijuana cause you to lose your job in the state of Missouri? Read on to find out.
After going through the process of qualifying for a medical card in Missouri, you will be protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA. This act states that patients do not have to disclose medical information to outside sources, even their employer, if they choose not to. This means that unless you willingly offer up the information to your employer about your medical card status, you do not have to tell them. This is true even if they ask you about it directly. HIPAA is designed to give people privacy when it comes to their medical records, and MMJ use is a part of that record.
In the state of Missouri, there are no laws that explicitly prohibit an employer from performing random drug tests on employees. Since there are no laws surrounding it, it can be a tricky subject for many who use medical marijuana for an approved condition and are worried that they might test positive if a drug test were to occur. Employers may also be confused about drug testing employees who may use medical marijuana. Drug tests are still allowed to be conducted on all employees regardless of their MMJ status in the state.
If an employee were to test positive, they may be unsure if they could be fired, since the Missouri Constitutional Amendment No. 2 is without any laws stating otherwise. However, people who live in Missouri now have rights to use medical marijuana as medicine if they qualify under the state program. Unfortunately, it is a gray area that leaves both patients and employers vulnerable to unfair action.
Currently, there are no laws stating that an employer who conducts drug tests cannot fire an employee if they test positive for medical marijuana. Because of this, employers and employees are in the middle of question mark surrounding medical marijuana use and employment.
Senate Bill 610 has recently been in the works; if the bill passes, it will give employers the right to fire anyone who tests positive for marijuana use, even if they have a medical marijuana card. This puts MMJ users in a tough spot when it comes to employment in Missouri.
Unfortunately, there is no way to pass a drug test if you use medical marijuana. Regardless of whether you use and obtain marijuana legally, it will still be in your system. This can create some anxiety surrounding employment within a company that conducts random drug tests on its employees.
The laws in Missouri surrounding the use of medical marijuana and employment protection need to be taken out of the gray area. Because of a lack of clarity surrounding employee and employer rights when it comes to the use of MMJ, employers seem to have the upper hand, and can establish their own rules when it comes to drug testing and how positive tests are handled.
For those working in Missouri and using medical marijuana for a qualifying condition, there is still hope. Many businesses in the state may feel that drug testing may not be needed, or worth the legal challenges it may come with. Until the laws are clear, though, employees with medical marijuana cards may need to take the gray area into consideration when choosing an employer.