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Should You Tell Your Employer About Your Medical Card?

Milan Khali

by Milan Khali

May 20, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Fact checked by Emily Mullins
Should You Tell Your Employer About Your Medical Card?

Wondering if you should tell your employer about your medical marijuana card? You’re not alone! In a perfect world, every employer would be completely accepting of cannabis use for medical reasons, and utilizing medical marijuana cards would be a non-issue. However, the reality is a bit more complicated. We’re here to walk you through it. 

Understanding Your Medical Card 

First, it’s important to understand what your medical marijuana card actually does. According to the California Department of Public Health, a medical marijuana card is “used to help law enforcement identify the cardholder as being able to legally possess certain amounts of medical marijuana under specific conditions.”

This means that medical marijuana cardholders have legal protections in possessing and using cannabis under certain conditions. Cardholders are also exempt from paying sales and use taxes on these specific cannabis purchases. 

What is important to note, however, is that even though cardholders are granted legal protections, they are not necessarily exempt from the specific policies of employers, such as “drug-free workplaces.” This means that employers can still legally enforce their drug policies, even if employees or candidates have medical marijuana cards. 

Do You Need to Disclose Your Medical Card? 

So, does that mean that you have to tell an employer about your card? Not necessarily. Generally speaking, employers cannot require employees to divulge information about their cardholder status. 

You also don’t need to worry about your medical marijuana card showing up on an employer’s background check. Because it is medical information, it is considered sensitive information that is protected by HIPAA. The notable exception, however, is federal employment.

Reasons to Disclose

In spite of these protections, however, it may be beneficial to disclose information about your card and cannabis use to an employer. 

The biggest reason for this is that employers may conduct drug tests, and you do not want any issues or misunderstandings to arise. If an employer conducts random drug tests or scheduled drug tests that overlap with your cannabis use, then you may fail the tests.

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
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  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary

In this case, it might be best to tell the employer about your medical marijuana card and cannabis use ahead of time rather than attempt to explain retroactively. This way, you can answer any questions that they may have and explain your situation, avoiding surprises for your employer or conflict during testing. 

Finally, if you believe that your cannabis use may impact your ability to work safely, then it is your responsibility to inform your employer. 

Reasons Not to Disclose 

Alternatively, you may wish to keep your medical marijuana card status private. If you don’t foresee your cannabis usage becoming public to your employer due to drug testing or any other job functioning, then there is not necessarily any reason that it would benefit you or your relationship with your employer to tell them. 

Holding a medical marijuana card is a piece of medical information, and just like any other medical information, it is a valid choice to keep that private from your employer. 

How to Disclose Your Medical Card

If you do decide to let your employer know about your medical marijuana card, make sure that you are prepared. Go into the conversation with an understanding of your rights and responsibilities within your state, as well as the company policy. 

You should also make sure that you have your documentation ready to present. This means a valid physician’s prescription!
Lastly, be ready to have a thoughtful conversation. Not everyone knows how cannabis may help with medical conditions, and some people don’t fully understand how it differs from recreational use. Taking the time to explain and answer questions professionally can calm any concerns they might have and show that you are proactive and responsible. 

The Bottom Line

So, should you tell your employer about your medical marijuana card? You most likely don’t have to, but it might be a good idea depending on the specifics of your job. 

If you think that scheduled or random drug tests might become a point of contention, or you feel that some of your job functions might be impacted by your medical marijuana usage, it’s best to be upfront. 

Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not to tell your employer about your medical marijuana card. Based on the company culture, company policy and practices, your specific cannabis usage, and the relationship you have with your employer, you can make the call that’s best for you. 

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