U.S. Government Clarifies That Doctor’s Note For Medical Cannabis Doesn’t Excuse Positive THC Test

Employers still have the right to fire workers using marijuana for health problems, even if a doctor has prescribed the plant
Written by 
Chris Kudialis, CBD and Cannabis Reporter.
|Last Updated:

As long as the federal government continues to ban marijuana, even Americans using the plant medically in marijuana-legal states remain in jeopardy of losing their jobs.

That’s according to an official clarification made Saturday by U.S. officials, who say that even a doctor’s note prescribing the plant doesn’t legally excuse a positive test for THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration made the clarification over the weekend in a proposal to further expand drug testing methods for which employees can be screened for Schedule 1 banned drugs, which include marijuana and other substances that the feds say have “no currently accepted medical use and high potential for abuse.”

SAMHSA also proposed implementing language in the Federal Register to note that inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke isn’t a valid excuse for people who test positive for the plant, nor is consuming edibles that contain THC. The policies apply to all forms of drug testing, including samples of urine, saliva and blood.

As more states legalize cannabis, views on federal prohibition among Congress members has been understandably mixed. The House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee last year published a report advising federal agencies to do away with regulations calling for the firing of employees who use medical marijuana in states where the plant is legal.

The U.S. Military has been among the most stringent employers to enforce cannabis prohibition, banning service members from using any form of cannabis, including CBD and other compounds legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Just last week, according to Marijuana Moment, members of the U.S. Navy were told not to drink a new Rockstar energy drink from Pepsi that contained hemp seed oil.

“Sailors and Marines are prohibited from using any product made or derived from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the product’s THC concentration and whether it was used under applicable civilian law,” said the notice sent to military members.

Meanwhile, the FBI hasn’t eliminated its prohibition policy, but has lightened it significantly. Prospective FBI employees can only be automatically disqualified from joining the agency if they’ve used marijuana within one year of applying for a job, which is a reduction from the previous three-year rule.


Chris Kudialis
Chris Kudialis
CBD and Cannabis Reporter
Chris Kudialis is the mainstream media’s authority on marijuana and CBD news coverage in Las Vegas. Chris began covering the beat as a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015, when cannabis had been medical-only for almost two years and the first dispensaries were just opening.

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