Drug Tests and Missouri Medical Marijuana Cards – What to Expect
When Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018, it opened the doors for so many people to have access to the medicine that helps them most. Having a medical marijuana card affords you many protections that weren’t available when cannabis was illegal, namely, consuming cannabis without being thrown in jail!
Before you come to visit us at The Farmer’s Wife, you must be a licensed medical marijuana patient in the state of Missouri. It’s not very challenging to become a patient, you just need to follow the appropriate steps. Here’s an article we wrote about applying for your patient card. Be prepared to show us your state ID, too, when you come see us!
If I have a medical marijuana card can I pass a drug test?
Just because law enforcement and the government are now on our side, doesn’t mean everyone is. Your medical card doesn’t mean you can fail a drug test for THC and get away with it, unfortunately. That’s because private employers (or whoever is drug testing you) can choose to deny you based on the results of your drug test. The federal illegality of cannabis creates such a gray area here, and Amendment 2’s lack of language on this issue doesn’t help.
In other words, you are not automatically protected because you have a medical marijuana card. You can still be denied jobs and other services because you fail a drug test. It doesn’t make sense at all since cannabis is legal at the state level in many places, which is why the cannabis industry is so focused on getting cannabis removed from the Schedule I Substances list. Because cannabis is a controlled substance, many employers are hesitant to allow their employees to consume it. In some cases, employers fear it might impact their federal funding to employ a cannabis patient.
Can employers drug test without notice?
Employers can absolutely drug test you without notice, they are well within their rights to do so. You likely even signed paperwork when you were hired that acknowledged they have the right to drug test you at any time.
In most cases, your employer must have reasonable suspicion that you’re consuming drugs before testing you but don’t count on that for protection.
Missouri Drug Testing Laws 2021
Missouri is one of a few states that doesn’t have drug testing laws. This means drug testing isn’t prohibited or restricted in any way, and the decisions are basically left up to the employer. There are a few circumstances where employers can’t fire an employee for a failed drug screening, like testing positive for a medication you were prescribed.
Because it’s federally illegal, however, medical marijuana is excluded from this list and employers can choose to not hire you because of it. Doctors also can’t prescribe cannabis, rather, they recommend it, so it’s not included as a prescription.
Here are some other reasons an employer might wrongfully drug test:
- Discriminatory testing. If any employer, for example, forces a person of a certain race to take a drug test simply based on the color of their skin alone
- Invading privacy. Your privacy might be violated in certain scenarios where you’re required to urine or undress in front of other people, but this is not all situations
- Defamation. If an employer falsifies a result and acts in bad faith because they knew the result was incorrect
What can medical marijuana patients do about drug testing?
The best thing Missourians can do is email their representative about how this impacts you as a medical marijuana patient. It might sound cliche to suggest contacting your representative, but how else does change occur? It’s important to let our governing bodies know what we want. After all, they’re simply our representatives and should be putting the people’s wishes into action. Some states have already started putting provisions in place to protect medical marijuana patients from facing unjust workplace discrimination.
Of course, contacting your representative won’t help the immediate problem of getting a job as a medical marijuana patient, so here are some things to consider:
- Switching to hemp-derived CBD products and significantly reduce your risk of testing positive for THC
- Being upfront and honest with your future/current employer. Explain how much you value their company and your role in it. Also, explain what medical marijuana does for you and how it impacts your life. There’s no guarantee this will work, but it’s a lot more likely to work if you are upfront.
- Find a job in the cannabis industry where you can utilize your passion for the plant
- Stop consuming cannabis before your screening, but also know there’s a risk for you to be randomly drug tested down the line - and your employer is allowed to do that!
Your drug test is your responsibility
It’s important that you take the initiative to ask your future workplace their policy on medical marijuana. Don’t assume everything will be fine because there’s nothing in the job description about it being prohibited. Employers are pretty much allowed to handle this situation any way they see fit, so you need to take accountability and make yourself responsible for obtaining all of the information. Can you imagine how devastating it would be to get the job, contingent on passing your drug screening, and you fail the test?
When it comes to getting a job with a patient card and passing a drug test, don’t leave any room for surprises.