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On April 17, 2016, Pennsylvania’s governor legalized the use of medical marijuana in the state, and from February 15th, 2018, those with a need for medical marijuana because of various health conditions were able to purchase and use cannabis legally. The medical relief provided by these new laws helped many patients who had been suffering from long-term conditions.
To get medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, patients have to register through the medical marijuana registry, be certified by a physician, pay for their medical marijuana ID card, and obtain their medication from approved dispensaries across the state. When it comes to medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania, some might be unsure of what is OK and what isn’t, especially when it comes to their workplace. So, does having a medical marijuana card in the state of Pennsylvania make it more difficult to get and keep a job? Can you get fired for having a medical card in Pennsylvania? Let’s find out.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, over half a million people in the state have a medical marijuana card for various health conditions such as cancer and epilepsy. There are some complications when it comes to work due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. The state of Pennsylvania does provide some protection for those looking for a job with medical marijuana cards; however, this protection is limited.
The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act was launched to help those who are looking for work in the state at the same time as using medical marijuana. Since many people have debilitating health conditions, the use of marijuana as medicine can help to curb or lessen their symptoms, making them more able to perform work tasks.
As per the laws surrounding medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, your employer does not have to be privy to the fact that you have a medical marijuana card. You do not have to disclose to your employer that you use medical marijuana off hours for a debilitating health condition, and chances are they will not ask. In the event that they do ask about your medical marijuana card status (since it is not against the law to inquire about), the best approach is to tell them the truth.
In the event that you are applying for a job that performs drug tests, you should be prepared to be upfront about your medical marijuana card status and provide your supporting documentation. Since it is against the law for an employer to refuse hiring you if you use medical marijuana, that should not hinder your chances of securing a job.
In the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, there are some anti-discrimination protections for patients when it comes to their jobs. These protections are meant to help people when it comes to getting hired (or fired) from their respective employment. The laws say that employees cannot be fired, threatened, refused employment, or otherwise discriminated against on the grounds that they have a medical marijuana card and use medical marijuana.
This means that if you are looking for work or you’re already employed and you have a medical marijuana card, an employer cannot legally fire you or refuse to hire you for using cannabis as medicine. These laws were put into place to help employees when it comes to random drug testing.
When it comes to where you use your medical marijuana, the laws can be a little bit more complicated. It is typically up to the employer whether or not you are able to use your medical marijuana while on the job, depending on how well you can perform and whether the use of MMJ affects the safety of yourself or others around you.
Pennsylvania laws do not force employers’ hands when it comes to accommodations for the use of medical marijuana by employees at their business. If you are using MMJ while at work, it is also up to the employer whether or not to discipline you for being under the influence of a substance while on the job.
Depending on how much THC is in your blood while on the job, employers can also limit your duties, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act. If you have more than 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in your system, you could be restricted from working with chemicals that require a state or federal permit, with high-voltage electricity, or with other public utilities.
Having a medical marijuana card does not exempt you from drug tests, nor will it help when it comes to testing positive for having marijuana in your system. If you take medical marijuana to help with a chronic health condition, you will test positive for marijuana in your system.
The best way to approach employment in the state of Pennsylvania when you have a medical marijuana card is to know your rights and any limitations that you face.