Will a Medical Marijuana Card Show Up on a Background Check?

Last updated on November 29, 2018 Views: 4999 Comments: 6

As with the rest of your personal health information, the fact that you’ve been recommended medical marijuana by a qualified practitioner is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which means it should not show up on any background check done by an employer or other authority. Nevertheless, it’s understandable that some are nervous about the possibility of such information being leaked.

So, how can you be sure your medical marijuana card won’t show up on a background check? Well, the easiest way is to do a background check on yourself so know if there are any nasty surprises lurking in your history. But before we get onto that process, let’s have a look at what HIPAA actually does for you.

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Does HIPAA Protect Your Medical Marijuana Information?

While you shouldn’t feel the need to keep your medical marijuana use a secret anymore than someone who’s been prescribed an inhaler for their asthma, many of us prefer to keep our medical diagnoses and treatments to ourselves. The HIPAA was introduced to protect patient privacy and prevent healthcare information from being disclosed either accidentally or purposefully. The restrictions on a medical marijuana card are so stringent that even a dispensary only has access to the card’s validity, and not the patient’s personal healthcare information.

In the same way that other medical records are confidential, so is your medical marijuana card, meaning that no third party should be granted access to that material without your express permission. Under the HIPAA, the only time such data is legitimately shared is if you give explicit authorization, for example, if you choose to share your medical information for research purposes.

Can a Prospective Employer Access my Medical History?

While the answer should be no, this doesn’t appear to be as clear-cut as we might like it to be. According to our research, employers can select different criteria for their background checks, including the obvious criminal record and credit reports but also certain medical records. While medical history should be restricted to an applicant’s ability to the job they’ve applied for, precisely what the criteria are seems difficult to nail down.

Certainly, most of your medical history should be confidential so if, for example, you have a history of mental illness, this shouldn’t show up in a background check or affect your chances of getting the position you applied for. Having said that, if you’re applying for a job working with children or with a military or law enforcement agency, they may request permission to perform certain health checks. At least this means you can choose whether or not to reveal that information but your refusal may negatively influence your prospective employer’s decision.

While honesty is usually the best policy, given the controversy and confusion surrounding medical marijuana, it’s difficult to say how a potential employer may react. In part, this may depend on what condition you are being treated for.

What Laws Affect Me and My Medical Marijuana Status?

Before carrying out a background check, most employers and human resource agencies will first use a search engine to get a feel for who you are. To make sure they’re seeing what you want them to see, Google yourself and check out the results. A search of this nature will usually produce your social media profiles and recent activity as well as any other online mentions of your name.

If you spend a lot of time chatting about your health and medical marijuana status with your Facebook friends, this is going to become pretty common knowledge in no time at all. Before posting on social media, take a moment to think about who you’re actually sharing that information with and whether it presents you in a positive professional light or not.

More worryingly, medical marijuana patients remain vulnerable to arrest, despite the increasing legalization of marijuana, and may also be discriminated against when it comes to employment, housing and child custody. Even if you’re following state law with regards to your cannabis usage, you may still be exposed to law enforcement encounters.

This tricky situation is made worse by the fact that your criminal record will show up in a background check so, if you’ve been convicted of possession of marijuana, you may find yourself struggling to secure a job, even if you were using that marijuana for medical reasons. Currently, the federal law still issues severe penalties for the use of medical marijuana.

Can I Run a Background Check on Myself?

With numerous reputable online background check services around, it’s never been easier to preempt your employer by doing your own background check. Doing periodical personal background checks will also keep you up-to-date with your personal and professional public profiles.

A comprehensive background check service can furnish you with detailed information about your criminal record, credit rating, employment history and online activities. It also gives you the knowledge and power to contest any inaccuracies that may be floating around in your past.

How Do I Select the Best Background Check?

Firstly, you need a service that’s going to give a thorough report that encompasses everything your prospective employer is likely to unearth about you. Below is a comprehensive list of the criteria you should look out for:

  • Criminal record – nationwide and statewide
  • International criminal records check
  • Education history
  • Employment history
  • Employment eligibility verification
  • License verification
  • Professional reference checks
  • Motor vehicle reports
  • Credit report
  • Drug screening
  • Phone numbers
  • Bankruptcies
  • Lawsuits
  • Traffic court records
  • DUI reports
  • Military background check

Once you’re sure you’re getting the information you require, you should look for a service that provides quick results, a range of different search options, accurate results, solid customer service and competitive pricing.

To make life a little bit easier for those wanting to make sure their medical marijuana card won’t show up in a background check, we’ve checked out some of the most reputable services and come up our choice of the best four services out there.

Top Background Check Services

1. BeenVerified

With online and offline functionality, BeenVerified offers a comprehensive background check service that accesses dozens of public record sources. A basic search will burrow deep into federal and state court records, the criminal justice system, private business records, and educational and professional history, to name just a few. Gathering this type of information independently is extremely time-consuming and expensive so, although a one-month subscription with BeenVerified will cost you as little as $14.86/month, this is a huge saving compared to doing independent research.

BeenVerified have downloadable apps that are compatible with all major platforms, making it both fast and convenient. Even if you’ve never done a background check before, BeenVerified’s user-friendly service will reveal whether or not your medical marijuana card shows up on a background check without any unnecessary hassle. Additional services, such as the “Court Runner” option, are available at an extra cost which vary from state to state.

Although pricey, BeenVerified offers an excellent service that will dig deep into your past and ensure an employer’s background check doesn’t have reveal any unexpected surprises. As the price covers a wide range of reports, it may work out cheaper than a rival background check company that charges extra for criminal or financial records.

Price: 

2. Truthfinder

Producing wide-ranging, well-organized reports, Truthfinder provides one of the most inclusive compilations of information available in the background check industry. With all the data collected in one place, you won’t have to waste time clicking on a hundred links to find the information you’re looking for.

In addition to checking out your social media profiles, criminal and financial history, Truthfinder will even go into the nefarious world of the Dark Web to see what secrets may be lurking there. As medical histories are potentially lucrative commodities on the Dark Web, this is a great way to find out if a background check will reveal your medical marijuana status.

Although they don’t have the range of apps BeenVerified features, Truthfinder make accessing your reports straightforward, providing step-by-step instructions to help you navigate the vast amounts of data contained therein. The service is by no means cheap and Truthfinder are rather cagey about their pricing plans, stating that “A standard, one-month subscription to TruthFinder costs less than $30”. While they do offer some cheaper services, like the Phone Number Lookup plan which costs less than $2, this isn’t going to tell you much about your medical marijuana card status and level of accessibility.

Price:

  • Starting from as low as $23.02/month
  • Special 5-day trial offer- Only $7.00

Get Truthfinder here

3. Instant Checkmate

Offering the same public record search capacity as the two previous companies, Instant Checkmate won’t delve into the Dark Web but will give you an easy-to-use report that includes criminal history and online profiles.  With a 5-day trial membership costing just $1, this is probably the cheapest way to check if your medical marijuana card will show up on a background check.

Admittedly, Instant Checkmate won’t be able to access your medical records, but it will give you a comprehensive insight into all the information a potential employer may be able to access, putting your mind at ease. Instant Checkmate’s thorough reports are easy to access and navigate and their Report Watcher feature means they’ll let you know the moment anything new comes up.

The trial membership feature is a definite plus, although customer service could be improved with a 24/7 online chat service. Overall, however, if you’re looking for cheap, quick results, Instant Checkmate is definitely a solid option.

Price:

  • $22.86 per/mo one month
  • $14.86 per/mo three month
  • Special 5-day trial offer- Only $1.00

Get Instant Checkmate Here

4. Intelius

Producing extensive reports that include up-to-date information about your criminal and employment histories and your social media profiles. If you’re not too concerned about your legal history, you can a basic report for  just, although you may find some minor inconsistencies in your marriage status and current address. While you won’t be able to download your report for future reference, the results are easy enough to access online.

Intelius’ website is considerably less informative than the other background check services listed here, and the absence of an FAQ section makes finding answers to even the simplest of questions rather trying. Having said that, the Intelius app is compatible with both iOS and Android which is a great feature that makes accessing public records quick and convenient.

With competitive pricing plans available and a five-day trial available for just $4.95, Intelius’s pricing structure makes them one of the most affordable so you can find out if your medical marijuana card will show up on a background check without spending a fortune.

Price:

  • $14.95 per/mo one month
  • $9.98 per/mo three months
  • $7.48 per/mo six months

Get Intelius Here

Bottom Line

While there is no reason a potential employer should have access to any of your medical records, including a medical marijuana card, performing a background check on yourself will give you an idea of the type of information a potential employer can access about you.

This means that, should any information be out there that you’d rather not make public, you can take steps to remove it from your profile, or at least bury it under content that projects your more professional side.

A background check can help you protect yourself against any nasty surprises, giving the best chance of ascending to the next rung of your chosen career ladder.

Article comments

6 comments
Annie says:

Can a state licensing board for professionals see if you have a card?

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Annie,
From what we can see, a state licensing board for professionals cannot immediately see if you h\ave a card. HOWEVER, they do consider working under the influence of THC as negligent, so if there is any suspicion of such activity, for medical use or not, they CAN order drug tests and subpoena medical records.

Ro says:

Since it is not legal on a federal level, If I am applying for a federal job, is there any way they can see if I have a medical card or the consumption amount/date of purchase with a background check? Or, since hippa is a federal regulation, does that keep my informant concealed?

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Ro,
Unless you have a very specific job that tells you (in the contract) that they will need access to all of your medical records (like an astronaut) AND you give them permission to access them, then your medical card is protected by HIPPA.

Jack says:

Can anybody access dispensary records in states where rec is legal? I gather from your article that a rec user WITHOUT a medical card wouldn’t be protected by any doctor-patient confidentiality.

Lola Olsen says:

Hi Jack,
Technically the answer here is yes. Because marijuana use is still illegal Federally, there is no actual protection for recreational users (only what each state provides them with).So there IS a risk, if the dispensary gets shut down or something, that the government can see your purchases there.