It’s Legal But Can It Get You Fired?

Isn’t it time for companies to revise their zero THC tolerance policy to accurately reflect federal law …

Millions of Americans live in states that have legalized medical marijuana use.  Indeed, since the Farm Bill of 2018 was signed, hemp products containing less than .3% THC have also been legal nationwide.

The market is flooded with these cannabis products now. Since the Farm Bill was signed in December of 2018, applications for farmers seeking to grow hemp increased by more than 300%. CBD and hemp products are everywhere. You can find CBD oil on the counter at the local convenience store, but using these products may bring you more than you bargained for. You might just lose your job.

Confusion between Hemp and Marijuana

To be clear, both plants are forms of cannabis. They are different, but similar in many ways. There are subtle differences in the way they look, but it often takes a trained eye to know the difference. Hemp has a broader leaf than marijuana.

Underlying differences can only be seen with chemical analysis. Hemp naturally has lower amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound that causes the head high that marijuana is famous for. THC is so low in hemp, less than .3%, that it cannot cause a head high, nor does it inhibit cognitive function.

You can drive, operate machinery, and do anything you normally do when taking a hemp product, like CBD oil. This is why CBD products have become legal from coast to coast and people are using them in states where medical marijuana isn’t available yet.

Cannabis, in all its forms, has given relief to millions of people who have sought relief from a myriad of symptoms associated with a host of chronic conditions. Those who have had little to no positive impact from taking drugs for epilepsy have found a dramatic reduction in both the number of seizures that they experience, as well as their severity when taking cannabis.

The FDA even went so far as to approve cannabidiol as the active ingredient in the drug Epidiolex, made for those who have tried other medications for their epilepsy without gaining control of the seizures.

Epidiolex is considered the last step in treatment and patients typically must go through being prescribed every other drug on the market for epilepsy and it must fail before they can be prescribed Epidiolex. On the other hand, they can simply take cannabidiol in the form of CBD oil or with medical marijuana in states that allow for that option.

But You Can Still Lose Your Job

Sadly, while the products are legally available to Americans, the workplace is dictating who has access by holding onto archaic zero-tolerance policies for THC. This is forcing many Americans to make choices that may impact their job security.

For example, “Jaime” is a government employee, living in Indiana, who has knee pain. She takes CBD oil for her pain and she knows that if her job decided to drug test her, there is a chance that she could test positive because there is a trace amount of THC in CBD oil.

This is no different than taking an over-the-counter aspirin and being fired for it. CBD is a legal product in all 50 states. Employers still have the right to test and fire employees with any trace of THC found in their system.

Even in states like Colorado, workplaces still have the right to do drug tests that specifically look for THC. Meanwhile, the state has sold $6 BILLION dollars of legal marijuana since 2014 when it became legal across the state. The state continues to benefit from the sale and profits from cannabis but has yet to protect workers who may singled-out by employers unfairly.

Prescription Drugs

If you have ever had a bad injury, surgery, or been treated for a chronic condition that has left you in pain, there’s a good chance that you’ve been prescribed opioids. Typical pain medications in America include opioids such as codeine and hydrocodone.

As long as you have a valid prescription for these drugs, even though they are highly addictive and contributing to severe addictions across the United States that has been referred to as the Opioid Crisis, you will likely not be fired for having them in your system.

In many cases, the American’s With Disabilities Act is used to protect employees who test positive for taking prescription medications, yet those who have been prescribed medical marijuana are still not given these same protections.

Take Robbie, who lives in Colorado, for example; she uses medical marijuana for her Hashimoto’s disease and suffers from muscle spasms that are an issue she was left with following a car accident. The accident left her with a crushed pelvis, broken leg, neck damage, back damage, shoulder damage, and depression. She’s had a medical marijuana card in Colorado since it became legal, yet she lives with the constant fear of losing her job. “ if I lost my job due to this policy it would be devastating and It would be almost impossible to recuperate financially.

It is simply time that laws across America are changed to reflect the legal use of cannabis products from coast to coast. Those living in states with legalized medical marijuana should not be fired from their jobs for using what has been lawfully prescribed.

Someone who grabs a bottle of CBD oil from the counter of their local convenience store should not get fired for tripping over a rug at work a few hours later and being sent for a drug test because they sprained their wrist. It’s simply not fair to Americans. It shows a bias against those who are using legally acquired cannabis products.

According to Global HR Research, there are currently 13 states that have laws to protect employees from getting fired for using medical marijuana. Since there are 33 states with legalized medical marijuana, this is a real problem.

Currently, these states have protections for employees from getting fired for using medical cannabis, but beware – they may not protect you from using it at work.

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

You should familiarize yourself with the laws in your state and remember that in order to make a change, we need to put more pressure on lawmakers to demand protections for those who need and use these products to make their lives better.

CBD Doesn’t Show On a Drug Test – Guess Again

Many people use CBD oil or other CBD products, thinking that they are safe from taking a drug test and losing their job. The fact is that it is still possible to get a positive result on a drug test. These tests specifically look for THC. If you are using a product called Full-Spectrum CBD oil, it will have traces of THC in it.

While there is only a trace of THC in CBD products, if you take them consistently, it can build in your system. It is possible for a drug test to pick up on a very small amount of THC in your body, especially if it is a urine or saliva test. Hair samples do not typically test positive from CBD use, but there is always a chance and you should understand this.

The important thing to remember is that if you absolutely have concerns about losing your job over a drug test, then CBD products may cause a positive test result for THC. The only way to avoid this is to use a CBD only product, like CBD Isolate. The issue with this is that it may not provide the same relief for many people who benefit from the full-spectrum CBD products because of the entourage effect that this product has.

Full-spectrum CBD, as does marijuana, includes all of the cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plant. It isn’t just CBD and THC. There are 112 known cannabinoids in cannabis plants. As science uncovers more about these additional cannabinoids, the more we realize they also provide benefits to the body. When they are introduced to the body together, they work as a team, providing a more beneficial impact. This is referred to as the entourage effect.

For the majority of people, a full-spectrum product is desirable for the entourage effect, but they are highly likely to be risking their job if they ever find themselves being randomly drug tested.

Why Would Your Job Drug Test You?

Most employers are able, by law, to test you immediately following an accident. For example, if you are a forklift driver and have an accident at work, they can send you for a test right then and there. If you test positive for THC, you’ll be terminated.

That’s not the only reason they can test you, however. Some employers conduct random testing, which can be as simple as your name pulled out of a random pool of workers for a test. If you are suspected of using drugs, for any reason, your employer can send you to be tested.

This means that if you are using medical marijuana, which is perfectly legal, and your employer finds out, he could have you tested and fire you. Some employers might be especially biased against marijuana use.

Based on myths perpetuated over many generations, your boss could send you for the test, just so he can fire you. In the meantime, Suzy at the desk next to you is popping Xanax from a Pez dispenser all day long and her job is protected because it was prescribed.

The fact is, medical marijuana is also prescribed and deserves the same protections under the law. It is time for the laws to be changed to reflect the changing times and the legalization of cannabis. It is also past time for companies to revise their zero THC tolerance policy to accurately reflect federal law.

Employers could easily change their policies to reflect the laws in the states in which they operate. There is no reason that any American should be singled-out and terminated for using a legal product in their state.


Cannabis Is a Safe and Natural Alternative

Employers should be happy that employees are using CBD over pain medications that are addictive and very dangerous. Prescription drugs, opioids specifically, have caused grievous damage to families and lives all over America. People are dying. EMTs and police officers are carrying Narcan to bring opioid users back from an overdose.

Side-effects of long-term pain pill use can include lethargy, depression, addiction, and the need for higher doses. It only takes four days of opioid use to cause addiction for many people. Four days. Imagine being in a car accident where your pelvis has been crushed, your back was broken, and you are left with depression and anxiety. Adding an opioid addiction to your woes seems hardly the best option.

Cannabis is able to help people without adding harmful chemicals to their bodies. Cannabis is not addictive and it is not a gateway drug. People don’t overdose on cannabis and they surely don’t die from it either.

Cannabis users are no more inhibited than someone taking Vicodin. Yet, the person with Vicodin in their system, and a prescription in their pocket, are protected from being fired. The person taking CBD for seizure control is not protected from losing their job, even though it was ironically the CBD that made it possible for them to keep doing their job in the first place.

It’s time to change the way employers look at marijuana and CBD use. Education is the best way to begin. Help people sort the facts from the fiction. Spread the word and demand change. More people in America are now looking at marijuana use favorable than ever before. Laws are changing and the whispers of nationwide legalization are in the wind.

Employers must change with the times. Employees will flock to companies that protect cannabis users and the employers who continue to single-out cannabis users for termination, will inevitably be challenged in the court system. Whether you call it bias, discrimination, or creating a hostile work environment, employers are going to be challenged until they pick themselves up by the bootstraps and haul themselves into the current century.

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