How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Employment in Tennessee?
Tennessee medical marijuana patients are in the early stages of the medical marijuana program, where many new questions and problems will start to surface.
One question on the minds of many Tennessee workers is how medical marijuana will impact their jobs. While the state has officially started the process of laying out a medical marijuana program, employers have their own set of rules.
In this Tennessee Marijuana Card guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Tennessee medical marijuana and how it can impact your employment.
Will Medical Marijuana Impact My Job?
The short answer is unfortunately yes, it can.
Tennessee state law doesn’t prohibit an employer from hiring or firing someone because of medical marijuana use.
And while there may be some protection for disabilities, unfortunately medical marijuana use itself does not enjoy any special immunity or consideration from the state in regard to employment.
The caveat here is what employers consider a “drug”.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Employment?
Medical marijuana doesn’t technically exist federally.
Even though the federal government holds a patent on medical marijuana, they continue to claim it has no medicinal properties.
So as far as the feds are concerned, medical marijuana is a controlled substance regardless of the application, specifically THC.
Workers’ compensation is a federal program, so the laws and rules on what constitutes “drugs” in the program are defined by the federal scheduling list.
And that’s the caveat, THC is what is usually identified on a drug test.
Will Medical Marijuana Show Up on a Drug Test?
Because Tennessee has limitations on total THC content, the large majority of medical marijuana products will contain little to no traceable amounts of THC, or at least less than 0.9%.
Typically, it’s common for programs to monitor for over 50ng/ml of THC in urine or oral fluid, and the amount of THC you consume, the time in which you consumed it, your biology, and many independent factors will play a role in whether or not there will be a detectable amount of THC in your system at the time of a drug test.
Because medical marijuana products can contain some amount of THC, it is possible for patients to consume enough products to have a detectable amount of THC on a drug test.
Will Medical Marijuana Impact Worker’s Compensation?
Tennessee is part of a group of states who participate in a worker’s compensation program that allows businesses to receive discounts on worker’s compensation if they qualify as a drug-free workplace.
Because workers’ compensation is a federal program, marijuana use qualifies as drug use whether or not it is being administered medicinally or recreationally.
This program incentivizes companies to avoid hiring (and separating from) employees who consume medical marijuana, on or off the job, in order to retain their workers’ compensation discount.
It also adds some degree of pre-legal benefit for employers over employees, as the status of “drug-free” can suggest that the external factor of an employee having a positive drug test would implicate them in the denial of their workers compensation claim.
Due to the fact that they were identifiably not in compliance with company policy (the “drug-free” workplace), the accident or injury could be superficially linked to drug use and could possibly serve as grounds for termination.
The Future of Medical Marijuana & Employment in Tennessee
While medical marijuana patients enjoy immunity from legal ramifications, the same rights are not always extended to employer-employee relationships.
Companies can voluntarily join programs that maintain “drug-free” workplaces, and while they are incentivized to do so, it is entirely voluntary and not required.
Not all companies will take the approach of discriminating against medical marijuana patients, and many businesses can implement specific policies that permit the use of “off-the-job” medical cannabis, as we’ve seen with Amazon.
The medical marijuana program is new in Tennessee, and it will face many of the problems that states who have already legalized medical marijuana have previously solved.
Positive Outlook for Medical Marijuana Patients in Tennessee
The hope is that in the rise of medical marijuana in Tennessee, lawmakers and businesses will reach a compassionate understanding that chronically and terminally ill patients do not qualify as “drug-users” and should be exempt from generalized policies that do not categorize the difference between recreational and medical use.
The future of medical cannabis in the Tennessee workplace will likely be impacted by the expected federal rescheduling of marijuana, which could dramatically change how private businesses approach the plant and its consumers.
There are a lot of potential moves in the right direction for Tennessee, and it’s our hope and expectation that lawmakers and legislators will pave the way for a safe and healthy working environment for medical marijuana patients in the Volunteer State.
Medical Cannabis in Tennessee
Being a Tennessee cannabis patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you.
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We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at (833) 781-5611 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical cannabis card in Tennessee.
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At Tennessee 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 (833) 781-5611, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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