Can Employers Ask About Past Medical Marijuana Use? The Answer

Can employers ask about past medical marijuana use? According to the Office of Personnel Management, past use of marijuana is no longer an automatic “no” for federal job candidates. With so many states legalizing marijuana use and so many people finding relief in medical marijuana, it’s no wonder this step was taken.

Can Employers Ask About Past Medical Marijuana Use?

Can Employers Ask About Past MMJ Use?

State-Approved Marijuana Use and The Law

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, recreational use was later legalized in 2016. Seven years later, some states still have not legalized medical marijuana use, but a large percentage have – forty-one, to be exact. Here’s hoping the remaining states begin to see just how much good medical marijuana is doing for the people out there with chronic health conditions!

Ironically, even though forty-one states have legalized medical marijuana use, the federal government still considers it illegal. This clash has long caused confusion for medical marijuana users and recreational users in states where recreational use is legal.

Can Employers Ask About Past Medical Marijuana Use?

In 2021, the Office of Personnel Management announced that it would no longer hold previous marijuana use against job candidates so long as there was evidence that the user no longer used the drug. Although Kathleen McGettigan, the OPM director, was the one who made this statement, she also emphasized that federal employees should not show disregard for the federal law. She went on to say that individuals employed by federal organizations within states where medical marijuana is legalized, should not take this as a “go-ahead” to begin using the drug.

Again, all very convoluted and roundabout answers that raise plenty of questions.

Justification For the Decision

So, what is the justification for the Fed’s decision to hire previous marijuana users? Many thought it was the sheer number of states that have legalized its use. But this is not necessarily true. What really drove the Office of Personnel Management to make their decision is the fact that they kept finding candidates who were well qualified for job positions, and who had the training needed, but their previous drug use prevented them from being hired. This situation began to pose something of a problem when the government began to come up with very short lists of candidates for the positions. In hopes of hiring intelligent, qualified employees, the government is making a concession.

Federal Law Still Supersedes State Law

So, to recap – the federal government is open to hiring qualified candidates with a history of marijuana use so long as they can prove that they are no longer actively using the drug. We are reminded, however, that federal employees are prohibited from illegal activities including the use of illegal drugs. And, yes, as far as the Federal government is concerned, marijuana is illegal. So, in short, the federal government has agreed to overlook previous marijuana use if users no longer actively use marijuana.

Does this go for medical marijuana users, too?

Yes, unfortunately. Since marijuana is considered a controlled substance, its use is illegal whether it is for medical applications or not.

What does this mean for you as a medical marijuana user or someone who is pursuing medical marijuana treatment? It means that you can either pursue relief and treatment with medical marijuana, or you can pursue a job with the federal government, but you can’t do both.

What About Drug Testing Prior to Employment?

If the federal government agrees to overlook past medical marijuana use for federal job applicants, does that mean employers cannot ask you to take a drug test before employment? No. Prior to employment, employers may ask you to undergo a drug screening test. This allows them to filter out all types of drugs and not just medical marijuana, so it makes sense that drug testing prior to employment is still required.

Can Employers Randomly Drug Test Employees?

The answer to this question depends on which state you live and work in. The ACLU has thorough documentation of which states do and do not allow random drug testing of current employees. Some states prohibit random drug testing of employees, some allow it so long as employees receive appropriate notice, some states require testing to be related to job activity, and others require that an employer have a valid suspicion that their employee is under the use of drugs before they can legally test them.

Don’t Be Dissuaded

It is unfortunate that federal and state governments cannot agree on the legalization of marijuana, but we ask that you not be dissuaded from pursuing medical marijuana if it is something that you feel may help you.

Many people with chronic health conditions have benefited from using medical marijuana; some have even found relief after years of suffering. We have hope that in the future, the federal government will approve and legalize marijuana use – particularly medical marijuana. Until that time, however, we encourage you to pursue your own health. You don’t have to suffer anymore, and soon, the federal government will see this.

Do You Need a Medical Marijuana Doctor in Florida?

If you need a medical marijuana doctor in Florida to help manage your medical marijuana prescription, The Medical Marijuana Doctor is happy to help. Our office is based in Coral Springs, Florida, and we help all our clients through the medical marijuana state registration, prescription, and treatment process. If you would like to make an appointment today, you can use our online appointment setter or email The Medical Marijuana Doctor.

At The Medical Marijuana Doctor, we firmly believe that everyone has the right to feel well and want to do our part to ensure that happens. For this reason, we offer free medical evaluations for all potential clients so that we can get started on your case and get you feeling better right away.