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Does a Medical Cannabis Card Show Up on a Background Check?

Kymberly Drapcho

by Kymberly Drapcho

January 25, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Emily Mullins
Does a Medical Cannabis Card Show Up on a Background Check?

Medical cannabis is more accessible than it has ever been. Marijuana is slowly proving to be effective in helping a number of ailments and health conditions, from chronic pain and anxiety to cancer. Legalized in 33 states, it’s easier than ever to get your medical cannabis card. Nevertheless, the laws surrounding medical cannabis can be confusing. Can medical cannabis affect employment or housing? More specifically, does a medical cannabis card show up on a background check? 

This article aims to demystify these concerns, delving into the medical marijuana system, privacy considerations for cardholders, and addressing queries about background checks, federal implications, and their potential effects on employment. 

Does a Medical Cannabis Card Show Up on a Background Check?

In theory, the only people who should know you’re using medical cannabis are your doctor and the dispensary you visit. In practice, it depends what type of background check you’re undergoing. 

For United States citizens, healthcare and medical information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Under HIPPA legislation, sensitive patient health information is forbidden from being disclosed without patient consent or knowledge. 

The same criteria that apply to other prescription medicine also apply to medical cannabis. In other words, your medical cannabis card information shouldn’t be shared without your consent or knowledge. 

Your medical cannabis card is somewhat protected, as it can give implied knowledge of you health records. However, there is one loophole: as the card itself is state-issued, HIPPA does not formally protect it. 

Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits

  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
  • Enhanced legal protection
  • Access to higher potency strains
  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary

What Does a Background Check Entail?

There are many different varieties of background checks. Below is a comprehensive list of the criteria that these checks could determine:

  • Criminal record – nationwide and statewide
  • Education history
  • Employment history
  • Phone numbers
  • Bankruptcies
  • Lawsuits
  • Traffic court records
  • DUI reports

Notably, health information is not on this list. However, if an employer determines that a urine sample is required for your background check, you medical cannabis usage may come into conversation. 

Does A Medical Cannabis Card Show Up on Federal  Background Check?

Having a medical cannabis card on its own is not going to show up on a federal background check. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the process won’t unearth information about your cannabis usage. 

As noted, if the background check is for an employer, many employers require drug screenings that may reveal cannabis use. Though having a medical cannabis card can protect you against legal issues, it’s up to employers’ discretion whether or not they hire you after a positive drug test because cannabis is still federally illegal. Nevertheless, in some states,–such as New Jersey–medical marijuana patients cannot legally be fired for failing a drug test. 

Additionally, if you’ve been convicted of a cannabis-related crime, your criminal record will show up on the background check. 

Therefore, while a medical cannabis card will not show up on a federal background check directly, other cannabis-related information might show itself throughout the process. 

Final Takeaway

Having a medical cannabis card can prevent you from owning a firearm, working for the federal government, and having a commercial driver’s license. However, your medical card will not show up on background checks. Though there are other aspects where cannabis usage may come into play–such as drug screenings and criminal records. 

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