Medical Marijuana is Legal in Florida But Smoking it May Keep you from Getting a Job

The irony is pretty thick.  Medical marijuana is the law of the land in Florida but if you are applying for a job in Florida and go for a drug test and test positive, you won’t get the job.

The state of Nevada has tried to address that contradiction in their own state.

Nevada just became the first state in the U.S. to ban pre-employment marijuana testing.

The law, AB 132, makes it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire someone who tests positive for marijuana, KTNV in Las Vegas reported.

Exceptions to the law include those trying to become firefighters or emergency medical technicians, those looking for jobs that require them to operate a vehicle and those seeking jobs with the federal government.

The law was signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak and goes into effect in January.

Nevada is one of 11 states that legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, and Florida is one of 33 states that legalized just medical marijuana.

Nevada’s solution is reasonable and eliminates the Catch-22 people who are legally prescribed medical marijuana may face.

So why do employers put potential employees in this impossible situation?  Money, that’s why.  In Florida, many companies can get reduced worker’s comp rates if they are a drug free workplace.

More than 190,000 people are on the Florida registry of medical marijuana users. While some states have legalized recreational weed and others have just legalized medical pot, employers in both types of states are beginning to reconsider if marijuana use should bar people from being hired.

Joyce Chastain, former president of the HR Florida State Council, told The Ledger that many of her clients are no longer testing for THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Even though marijuana may be legal recreationally, medically or both in some states, legalization of its use has created puzzles for employers locally and nationwide. Cannabis is still federally illegal, so government contractors and many national companies still test for marijuana.

Until a federal law is passed, decisions about pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC are left up to individual employers and state and local leaders.  So the contradiction and hypocrisy will continue, for now.


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