Having a MO Marijuana Card Means You Have Legal Access to Natural Relief - But is Your Job Protected?
Thousands of Missouri residents have gotten their marijuana cards since the program officially opened up in 2020, but many employed in the Show-Me State are asking, “Can I get fired for using medical marijuana if I have a marijuana card?”
Nearly every adult employed in Missouri likely qualifies for a medical marijuana card based on the current guidelines set forth by the Department of Health and Senior Services. Legislators have been working to ensure that people who use therapeutic cannabis in Missouri can keep their guns and their children, but little has been done to address whether they can keep their jobs.
Let’s take a look at what the law says about your employment rights as a medical marijuana user in Missouri, and what you can do to protect yourself when you exercise your right to natural medicine.
Missouri Follows the At-Will Employment Doctrine
One important thing to remember about employment in Missouri is that the state only offers the most basic protections against termination. This means that you can be fired at any time, for any reason, except in the case of a contract stating otherwise, civil rights discriminations, merit law protections, and public policy exceptions.
There Are No Restrictions on Workplace Drug Testing
Missouri employers are free to perform drug tests on their employees without restriction. Again, the federal protections for discriminatory testing practices stand. So your employer cannot test you for drugs simply based on things like the color of your skin, known disabilities, gender, etc.
They also cannot perform drug testing in ways that violate privacy. You have protection against being required to disrobe or urinate in front of others, but that’s about as far as it goes.
The Americans With Disabilities Act Does Not Include Protection for Medical Marijuana
The Americans With Disabilities Act does offer protection for patients who must take medication to treat their condition, but medical marijuana is not included in the ADA. This is because marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance at the Federal level, and the ADA is a Federal law.
Does This Mean I Can’t Use Medical Marijuana if I Want to Keep My Job in MO?
The answer to this question depends on your employer’s policies. More and more Missouri employers are beginning to understand that medical marijuana use does not necessarily mean on-the-job impairment. Everyone responds differently to cannabis, and varying strains cause different effects.
There are plenty of employers who are more concerned about making sure the job gets done well than they are about what you do on your own time. People all across the country are working together to compile a list of employer drug testing policies, to give you a heads up about where you are applying.
However, this does not give you a free pass to bring your pre-rolls and gummies to work for your lunch break. If your employer is laid back about cannabis use, you should probably still keep your use of intoxicating substances to your time off the clock.
Medical Marijuana is a State Constitutional Right in Missouri
The fact that the Missouri medical marijuana law is actually a state constitutional amendment gives it a little more weight than if it were simply a bill passed into law. Missouri residents who qualify for a MO marijuana card have a right to purchase and use cannabis to treat their conditions naturally and safely.
This makes firing someone for marijuana use when they are acting within their constitutional rights on their own time more complicated. Some employers may choose not to pursue the issue.
So far, only one case that we know of has been brought against a Missouri employer for unlawful termination related to a failed drug test since the medical marijuana law went into effect in Missouri in 2018. That ruling was in favor of the employer, because the employee did not actually have a medical marijuana card, and he was using marijuana illegally at the time.
Adding to the issue of problematic use in this case was the fact that this particular employee was a member of the company’s safety committee.
It’s also important to note that Federal, transportation, and law enforcement/safety employees are subject to drug tests regardless of patient status—even in states that offer protections for medical marijuana users.
If You Are Going to Use Marijuana in Missouri, You Should Have a MO Marijuana Card for Basic Protection
In the end, you have absolutely no grounds for defense against drug-related termination if you are using marijuana illegally. At Missouri Marijuana Card, we recommend fully understanding your employer’s drug policies before using marijuana. If, however, you are using marijuana regardless of policy, a medical marijuana card may help you justify your use with the assistance of an attorney.
Schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate doctors in order to secure a marijuana card so that you can use cannabis legally in Missouri.
*Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It was not written by an attorney. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Missouri Marijuana Card and all authors make no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held responsible or liable for any outdated or incorrect information. The information contained herein is not a substitute for the counsel of an attorney. We strongly recommend seeking the counsel of an attorney if you are having trouble with or are questioning employer marijuana policy enforcement.
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At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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