Can I Be Fired For Using Medical Marijuana in Ohio?
Well ... can you?!?
Medical cannabis has been legal in Ohio for a few years now. Cannabis doctors are recommending patients. Cultivators are growing. Dispensaries are open for business. And Ohio medical marijuana cardholders are buying medical cannabis throughout the Buckeye State.
But a question that continues to loom over every patient in Ohio — can you be fired for using medical marijuana?
Can I Be Fired For Ohio Medical Cannabis Usage?
The short answer is yes. Companies can set policies that best suit the work environment and nature of the job. This includes policies about cannabis, or zero tolerance drug policies.
An employee in the factory of a hand sanitizer company, for example, may even have to take an alcohol or sobriety test in order to get the job. This is because alcohols and other chemicals there could entice a suffering alcoholic.
An employee at a city school, as another example, may need to take a sobriety test or drug test to ensure they are not under the influence while working with children. Truck drivers may also need to take tests of this kind to ensure they are safe on the road.
Why Companies Fire Employees For Cannabis Use
There is absolutely no state rule or regulation that forces a patient to be fired for using cannabis. But that doesn’t mean a company policy wouldn’t do exactly that. This means that you can be tested for medical cannabis. You can be fired for medical cannabis. You could even be asked to enter an addiction program for medical cannabis.
There are thousands of reasons an employer can conjure up so that they can drug test an employee or prospective employee. And many of those reasons are both logical and legally prudent. Sadly, many companies lump cannabis into their drug and alcohol policies. Despite being a recognized medicine, most companies still error on the side of caution when it comes to cannabis.
How To Tell If Your Employer Has a Zero Tolerance Drug Policy
If you are curious about whether your employer has a zero tolerance drug policy that includes medical marijuana, you should contact your HR rep ASAP. It would NOT be recommended to tell this rep that you are seeking information about the company’s drug policy. Even if you have not done any legal or illegal drugs, this question alone may prompt your HR rep to drug test you.
Rather, you will want to obtain a copy of your employee handbook. You can simply ask, email or call your HR rep at your company. They likely have multiple copies ready for distribution. This handbook outlines all of your company’s policies, from attendance to drug policies.
Be sure to read over this document very carefully. Does your company test randomly? Do they test at all? Do they fire employees who test positive for cannabis? Does your company place you into a program, like AA, if you test positive?
These details are vital to protecting your rights as a medical cannabis patient in Ohio. The more you know about your company’s drug policies, the better protected you are from being fired or reprimanded for cannabis use.
Is Cannabis Safe To Use At Work?
There are millions of jobs throughout the country that could be done while medicating or using cannabis. Unlike alcohol, which severely impairs judgement and motor coordination after only a few drinks, cannabis can be regulated by a patient much easier. And the side effects of cannabis, including euphoria, are nowhere near as intense as being drunk on alcohol.
Even better, low THC cannabis and CBD strains are available at Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries. And patients can also use cannabis patches, creams and even tinctures to enjoy the medicinal effects of medical cannabis without the stronger euphoric side effects of THC.
But even at its strongest, cannabis simply doesn’t impair the body quite like alcohol or even opioid prescription drugs. Hell, I’ve taken over-the-counter cough medicines while sick that impaired my cognitive functions far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced while medicating with cannabis.
Not every patient can tolerate a dab or a hit of a strain with a high percentage of THC. This is true. But most Ohio medical marijuana patients know how to regulate their usage. And even if they are unaware, they are instructed by their medical practitioner or Ohio dispensary cannabis consultant.
Will Ohio Companies Change Their Policies About Cannabis?
The short answer is yes and no. There are always going to be companies that require drug and sobriety tests. After all, some jobs are simply too dangerous and a company would be putting themselves at great legal risk if they didn’t test employees. But as medical cannabis sweeps the nation, and recreational cannabis slowly makes headway in progressive states, companies will be forced to reevaluate.
This will likely come once the United State federal government removes the Schedule I DEA restriction that currently stifles cannabis research and legality in this country. If cannabis were rescheduled to Schedule II, III or IV, more companies would likely reexamine their drug and alcohol policies.
Medical Marijuana Patient Rights
Many business insiders and cannabis advocates are encouraging companies to reconsider drug testing and drug policies. Many are requesting a testing system based on employee conduct or performance issues at work. Or suggesting screenings that look for harder drugs, or even opioids.
Medical marijuana patient rights could eventually supercede company drug policies as well. In this scenario, it’s possible that an employee termination could bring about a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit could climb through the state’s judicial system, eventually making it to the Ohio Supreme Court. If an argument can be made that a patient’s rights have been infringed upon by the company’s drug policy, the state could set a legal precedent that would stop employers from testing for cannabis if you are an Ohio medical marijuana cardholder. This is a far shot scenario, but a possible legal avenue if solid legal ground could be argued.
Have you been tested for cannabis? Has your company changed their drug policy? Let us know in the comments below!
The educational materials, editorials and reviews found on this site are provided for informational purposes only. We are not responsible for patients or recreational cannabis users and their actions. Please consult your medical marijuana physician or pharmacist about how to properly medicate with medical cannabis, or to learn how to get your Ohio medical marijuana card.