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Can You Be Denied a Job Because of Medical Marijuana Use?

Cannabis laws are rapidly changing across the country, and every election cycles brings something new. This can make it difficult for the average person to know where they stand in legal matters concerning both recreational and medicinal use. Marijuana reform efforts in Texas have been slow-going and hard-won. For instance, Texas law limits medical cannabis to low-level THC products for patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Just last year, a bill that would have decriminalized general marijuana use and possession of small amounts was introduced to the legislature but was ultimately voted down.

Drug Testing and Employee Rights in Texas

Even the very limited number of Texas residents who use medical cannabis don’t have legal protection when it comes to being denied or dismissed by private employers as the result of a positive drug test. Texas law allows private employers to craft their own drug and alcohol policies. However, the situation becomes less clear when a government employer is a part of the picture because they’re required to adhere to federal regulations that specify that drug testing employees without a compelling reason may be in violation of federal laws designed to provide individuals with protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Federal agencies, though, require drug testing as a condition of hire.

To complicate matters even further, the only cannabis products legally available under Texas law contain very small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that drug tests are designed to detect.

Marijuana Background Checks

Drug testing isn’t the only way that marijuana use can result in being denied a job or terminated from existing employment — employers may be able to use convictions found on a marijuana background check to deny you a job or to fire you.

The Texas legislature will revisit decriminalization of marijuana during the 2019 session, but as of now, Texas remains one of the most prohibitive states regarding cannabis use of any kind. A conviction can have significant negative impacts on your future, including the ability to obtain and retain employment. The services of an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your future. 

Please feel free to contact Gebhardt and Eppes, PLLC at your convenience for more information on navigating the Texas legal system if you’ve been charged with a marijuana-related crime.