Can You Get a Job With a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona?
If you have been hesitating to get an Arizona medical marijuana card for fear that it might jeopardize your job prospects or even your current employment, there is some good news. Arizona has some of the most patient-friendly laws in the nation when it comes to medical marijuana and the workplace.
Can an Employer Refuse to Hire You Because of a Medical Marijuana Card?
Under the terms of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, employers are prohibited from denying employment based on medical marijuana patient status in most cases. You do not have to disclose that you’re a cardholder or that you use medical marijuana, and employers are prohibited from asking you about your patient status or marijuana use.
There are some minor exceptions to this Arizona law. Most notably, certain employers may designate specified positions as “safety sensitive” and take extra precautions as a result. Common safety-sensitive roles include bus drivers (and other forms of drivers), pilots, air traffic controllers, firefighters, and police officers.
Employers may inquire about medical marijuana status when hiring for safety-sensitive positions. If they believe in good faith that hiring you would present risks to human safety, they may decline to hire you. Most people in the workforce, though, won’t be subject to these added precautions.
There is one other major exception to the medical marijuana protection law. An employer may deny employment to medical marijuana cardholders in instances where hiring such candidates could cause the employer to lose a contract or licensing-related benefit from the federal government.
Remember that cannabis is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance at the federal level, so businesses that contract with the federal government may be subject to additional precautions as required by law. Medical marijuana cards aren’t protected in these instances.
In addition, we should note that federal courts often handle employment law and do not recognize the aforementioned protections.
Can You Get Fired for Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona?
Most employers in Arizona are prohibited from discriminating against any employee who has a valid AZ medical marijuana card. That means you cannot be fired for your patient status, even if you fail a drug test.
The major exceptions, once again, are for safety-sensitive roles and for those positions that may jeopardize federal government contracts. If you work in one of these roles and test positive for marijuana, you may be terminated from your position. Unfortunately, THC metabolites can remain in the bloodstream for weeks after use, so you could be terminated even if you’re not currently impaired.
If you depend on medical cannabis to treat a chronic condition but the state protections don’t apply to your workplace, you may need to consider alternative employment or speak to your doctor about other forms of treatment.
The Benefits of Having an AZ Medical Marijuana Card in the Workforce
If you have a legitimate need for Arizona’s medical marijuana program, a medical marijuana card can provide invaluable workplace protections. These protections do not apply to recreational marijuana users. Businesses reserve the right to designate drug-free workplaces and require the drug testing of employees. If you return a positive drug test, a medical marijuana card is the only form of legal protection you may have against disciplinary action.
The good news is that it’s easy for qualifying patients to obtain a medical marijuana card in Arizona. You just need to obtain a physician’s certification and apply through the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). At Green Leaf, we can take care of the certification and the paperwork on your behalf. In many cases, you can get certified in as little as one day.
If you’ve been treating your condition without a medical marijuana card, you may be at risk of losing your current employment or losing out on new employment opportunities. It’s not worth it. Get certified today, and enjoy the additional peace of mind that comes with being protected in the workplace.