Georgia Marijuana Card Guide: Medical Marijuana & Employment in Georgia
While Georgia cannabis patients are waiting for the launch of the full medical marijuana program, familiar questions and problems that accompany medical marijuana legalization are starting to show up.
When and where dispensaries will arrive, how many and what types of licenses will be created, and especially, if medical marijuana will impact employment. In this guide, we’ll outline everything about how Georgia’s medical marijuana program can affect employment.
Does Medical Marijuana Use Affect My Job?
Unfortunately, yes it can, possibly.
Georgia doesn’t have any state specific laws that prevent an employer from hiring or firing anyone because of their status as a medical marijuana patient.
In fact, although there are often protections in place for disabilities, the same protections are not extended to MMJ cardholders, and medical marijuana does not qualify for any immunity from the state regarding employment.
What really matters is how a company defines a “drug”.
How Does My Medical Marijuana Card Impact My Employment?
Medical marijuana doesn’t actually exist on a federal level.
In reality, this backhanded approach causes a lot of problems for private businesses who would likely otherwise make the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana use.
Because worker’s compensation is a federal program, it considers THC (or tetrahydrocannabinols) an illegal controlled substance that has no medical application, regardless of whether it is being used medicinally or recreationally.
This is what causes the biggest problem with employers and marijuana, federal classification requires companies to treat medical marijuana patients as individuals who use illegal substances, and that can impact your eligibility for workers’ compensation.
And for Georgia specifically, it can impact an employer’s access to discounts on federal programs like workers’ compensation.
Is Medical Marijuana Exempt from Drug Testing in Georgia?
Because Georgia has limits on THC content, medical marijuana products will contain small amounts of THC that can be detected by drug tests.
It’s very common for programs to look for over 50ng/ml of THC in urine or oral fluid. The total amount of THC you consume, the time between taking it and being tested, and your biology will all play a critical role in whether or not there will be a detectable amount of THC in your system at the time of a drug test.
Because medical marijuana products can contain up to 5% THC in Georgia, it is possible that patients will have a detectable amount of THC on a drug test.
Does Being a Medical Marijuana Patient Affect Workers Compensation?
Georgia is part of several states who participate in a worker’s compensation program that allows businesses to apply for discounts on worker’s compensation programs if they maintain a “drug-free” work zone.
Because workers’ compensation is a federal program, marijuana use qualifies as a controlled substance regardless of whether it is being administered medicinally or recreationally.
This program incentivizes companies to avoid hiring employees who consume medical marijuana, on or off the job, in order to keep their workers’ compensation discount.
It can also add a subjective amount of legal protection for employers who can claim that a positive drug test violates company policy, and that could facilitate a connection between the arbitrary factor of marijuana use and the denial of workers’ compensation claims due to an accident or injury, regardless of whether or not marijuana use was related to the claim.
How the Stance on Medical Marijuana Might Change in the Workplace
Medical marijuana patients have immunity from law enforcement and legal complications related to the plant. However, those rights are not always extended to employees, as is the case with Georgia.
Although companies are certainly incentivized to keep a “drug-free workplace”, the programs are entirely voluntary, and businesses have no requirement to participate.
Many companies will likely not participate in the program due to its discriminatory nature against medical marijuana patients and the prevalence of medical marijuana programs across the country.
Many businesses will instead opt to enact company policies that approach medical cannabis use in a different category than controlled substances, such as Amazon, who recently released their new corporate policy on cannabis in the workplace.
The medical marijuana program is relatively new in Georgia, and it will face many of the problems that states who have legalized medical marijuana have already solved.
Medical Marijuana Policies – The Future of MMJ & Employment in Georgia
We look forward to a future where Georgia legislators and companies can both come together to endorse the rights that medical marijuana patients deserve in the workplace.
Chronically and terminally ill patients who use medical marijuana to treat symptoms of their conditions deserve the same rights as anyone else in the workplace, and that should include anti-discriminatory policies that prevent the unlawful termination or discrimination of an employee because of medical marijuana use.
And that might be a reasonable future considering the looming discussion of federally rescheduling cannabis. It is likely that as more states create medical marijuana programs lawmakers will spend more time looking at corporate policies.
And that holds true for Georgia, where legislators will need to spend a little extra time ensuring the rights of medical marijuana patients are protected in the corporate world.
And on the other side of the conversation, with the upcoming dispensaries opening in Georgia, many new cannabis-friendly positions will become available for MMJ cardholders in the cannabis industry alone, which is expected to have a $92 billion dollar impact on the US economy in 2021.
The future is looking bright for medical marijuana patients in the United States, and we hope and expect Georgia will play an important role in making that future brighter for employees and employers both in the Peach State.
Get Your Georgia Marijuana Card
As a Georgia marijuana patient, you can legally purchase up to 20 ounces of low THC cannabis oil. For Georgians, this means getting the relief you need naturally and organically, and Georgia Marijuana Card is here to help.
Reserve your appointment today and get $25 off when we start processing applications!
Feel free to give us a call at (866) 781-5606, and we can help answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Georgia.
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