Will a Medical Marijuana Card Show Up on a Background Check?
Marijuana is proving to be an effective treatment for a myriad of chronic health conditions, from cancer to Tourette syndrome. As a result, it is now legal medicinally in 33 states where qualifying patients can receive state-issued medical marijuana cards based on a doctor’s recommendation.
Despite its widespread use, the laws surrounding medical marijuana use and the consequences of getting a medical marijuana card are often confusing. Many people wonder if a medical marijuana card will affect their employment or ask themselves, “Does a medical marijuana card show up on a background check?”, “Does a medical card go on your record?”, or “Can I be fired for using marijuana in my own time even if I have a medical card?”.
In this article, we plan to tackle those tricky questions and clear up some of the confusion while exploring both the medial marijuana system itself and the privacy issues affecting medical marijuana cardholders.
Does Medical Marijuana Card Show Up on a Background Check?
In the US, all healthcare-related and medical information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which means that it will not show up on a background check.
The HIPPA was introduced to “protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge”. Under HIPAA legislation, the same criteria apply to medical marijuana as any other prescription medicine. In other words, the only people who should know you’re using marijuana for a health condition are you, your doctor, and your dispensary.
The laws surrounding medical information are so strict that “even your dispensary only has access to the validity of the card, and NOT your healthcare information”. There is one small but worrying loophole, however, which is that “as the card itself is state-issued, HIPAA does not formally protect it”. Having said that, your MMJ card does enjoy some level of protection “due to the implied knowledge it can give of your health records”.
So, does a medical marijuana card show up on a background check? Certainly not in its official capacity, but it also depends on the type of background check your employer conducts. If, for example, someone wants to find out more about you and uses one of the best background check services to do so, they could well discover the truth about your medical marijuana status.
Does My Medical Card Show Up on Federal a Background Check?
Technically, just having a Medical Marijuana card issued to you is not going to show up on a Federal Background Check. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot be discovered.
What will show up in a Federal Background check is your criminal record, 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, federal law still issues severe penalties for the use of medical marijuana.
So, while a Medical Marijuana card will not show up on a federal background check, if you’ve had any run-ins with the law that are connected to marijuana use and/or possession (even if it was medical), you can still face problems if someone performs a search on you.
Why Run a Background Check on Yourself?
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 To 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
- Education history
- Employment history
- Phone numbers
- Traffic court records
- DUI reports
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.
Our Pick of Top Background Check Services
Intelius produces extensive reports that include up-to-date information about your criminal and employment histories and your social media profiles. While you won’t be able to download your report for future reference, the results are easy enough to access online. Intelius’ app is compatible with both iOS and Android, and is one of the most affordable background checks available, so you can find out if your medical marijuana card will show up on a background check without spending a fortune.
- $14.95 per/mo one month
- $9.98 per/mo three months
- $7.48 per/mo six months
BeenVerified is the most comprehensive background check on the market. It utilizes both online and offline sources to compile its reports, so it offers many different packages of results. BeenVerified offers not only a dark-web scan but an ongoing monitoring service as well. 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.
- 1-Month Membership: $22.86/mo
- 3-Month Membership: $14.86/mo
Instant Checkmate‘s record capacity does not delve into the Dark Web, but it 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. 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 Their thorough reports are easy to access and navigate and their Report Watcher feature lets you know the moment anything new comes up.
- $22.86 per/mo one month
- $14.86 per/mo three month
- Special 5-day trial offer- Only $1.00
The Consequences of Getting a Medical Card
As Isaac Newton said, “What goes up must come down” and the consequences of getting a medical card, unfortunately, include as many lows as they do highs. Currently, medical marijuana patients remain vulnerable to arrest and will remain so for as long as “cannabis is still illegal under federal law”.
Despite the increasing legalization of marijuana even medical marijuana patients may be discriminated against when it comes to employment, housing, and child custody. Additional consequences of getting a medical card include:
You are not allowed to own a firearm
Strange as it may seem, you need to choose between the right to bear arms and the right to take marijuana to treat a medical condition. Way back in 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (AFT) decided that, as far as they were concerned, “Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes,… is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition”.
You can’t work for the Federal government
One of the most serious consequences of getting a medical marijuana card is if you work for the Federal government, even if you do so in a state where marijuana is legal. “Federal employees can be denied employment or terminated due to testing positive for marijuana”.
Similarly, under the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act, any agencies with contracts with the Federal government must “enforce zero-tolerance drug policies”.
You can’t have a commercial drivers’ license
For safety reasons, the Department of Transportation has deemed it illegal for any CDL drivers to work under the influence of Schedule 1 narcotics. Trucking companies are required to administer drug tests before hiring and at random during the period of employment. If you test positive for marijuana, an MMJ card won’t save your job, making it useless even in the state that issued it.
Can Having a Medical Marijuana Card Affect Employment?
Unfortunately, even in states where medical marijuana is legal being a card-carrying user can still harm your employment prospects. Although legislation is slowly moving in favor of medical marijuana patients, “the current marijuana ban under federal law demands that some workers pee clean, no matter what”.
In some states, for example, if an employee suffered a workplace injury and is subsequently found to have been under the influence of marijuana at the time, they could face disciplinary action or even termination. This is even though there is currently “no effective test to prove an employee was THC impaired on the job”.
In New Jersey last year, however, a state appeals court ruled that medical marijuana patients can’t be fired for failing a drug test. This was in response to a cancer sufferer who was fired from his job at a funeral home after testing positive for marijuana. The court found in favor of the claimant, saying that, because the doctor had approved his use of medical marijuana, he was protected by the Law Against Discrimination.
At the beginning of the article, we considered some of the main issues concerning medical marijuana usage and the workplace. During our investigation, we’ve established that, while a medical marijuana card won’t show up on a background check because it’s protected data, any reference you make to that status on social media could hurt your employment prospects.
We’ve also figured out that much of the confusion exists because of the overlap and conflict between state and federal laws, with some states legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis, while the federal law keeps the drug firmly outlawed. As a result, even legal medicinal marijuana uses can face the long arm of the law and face some of the negative consequences of getting a medical card, like not being able to own a firearm or work for the Federal government.
Does a medical card go on your record? No. Can you lose your job after testing positive for marijuana? In some states, sadly, yes. Before making an appointment with your doctor to ask for a recommendation for an MMJ, it’s worth looking into all the legislation that affects medical marijuana use in your state and consider whether the benefits outweigh the positives and what impact it may have on your employment status and other areas of your life.