Can I Be Fired for Using Medical Marijuana in Ohio?
In short, the answer is yes, you can be fired for using medical marijuana if you test positive for THC after submitting to a drug test requested by your employer.
Marijuana, generally, is still illegal in Ohio so having a medical marijuana card does not protect you from termination if you test positive for THC. Employers have the discretion to hire and fire based on marijuana usage and can consider whether a person has a medical marijuana card when making decisions to hire or fire.
Some employers may take the position that the work environment should be completely drug-free and can terminate anyone who tests positive for THC. That said, there may be some employers that will allow medical marijuana usage and will not consider it as grounds for termination. The bottom line is that employers have the discretion to terminate someone for medical marijuana, whether that person holds a medical marijuana card or not. Just because you lawfully possess marijuana because you have a medical marijuana card, your employer can still fire you if you test positive for THC, if it chooses to do so.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not protect employees that have a medical marijuana card from termination, nor is your employer required to accommodate you by allowing you to use medical marijuana, even if that usage occurs outside of work hours. If an employer chooses to accommodate a medical marijuana user, it has the right to do that as well.
Federal and state laws authorize companies and agencies to maintain drug-free workplaces. Those authorities extend to prohibiting employees from working while using marijuana and to requiring clean drug screens from individuals.
Balancing the rights of workers to access and use medical marijuana with the obligations of employers to protect their businesses, the public, and other employees will never be straightforward.
Know When It Is Legal to Use Medical Marijuana in Ohio
Ohio residents must apply for and receive a medical marijuana registration card before they can legally purchase marijuana in the state of Ohio. Having an application approved requires receiving a prescription from a doctor who is certified to recommend marijuana use for the treatment of symptoms of the following conditions:
- AIDS or HIV-positive status,
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease),
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Cachexia (i.e., physical wasting related to chronic disease),
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),
- Chronic or severe pain,
- Crohn’s disease,
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorder,
- Hepatitis C,
- Inflammatory bowel disease,
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Sickle cell anemia,
- Spinal cord disease or injury,
- Tourette syndrome,
- Traumatic brain injury, and
- Ulcerative colitis.
The prescribed cannabis must be obtained from a licensed dispensary, and it must be used as directed by the physician. This is a non-exhaustive list and multiple conditions qualify for a prescription for medical marijuana.
Employees are typically not required to inform their managers and supervisors about holding a medical marijuana card. Still, anyone who must take a drug test to get or keep a job can protect themselves by sharing this information so the employer is aware that the marijuana was legally prescribed. Still, you may be terminated if you test positive for THC no matter what.
THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, can remain in a patient’s blood and urine long after any high wears off. An employer may perform drug tests and if an employee tests positive for THC, that person can technically be terminated since marijuana generally is still unlawful in Ohio, whether the person possesses a medical marijuana card or not. You are not protected from termination if you test positive for THC simply because you possess a medical marijuana prescription.
How Employers Can Treat Workers Who Use Medical Marijuana
Companies and agencies are allowed to make refraining from all drug use a condition of employment. Employers are also allowed to conduct scheduled and random drug screenings.
Examples of jobs that may completely prohibit medical marijuana usage are:
- Truck driver,
- Heavy equipment operator,
- Machine operator,
- Security professional,
- Child care provider, and
- Health care provider.
Testing for drug use is always permitted following workplace accidents, and it can be allowed when reasonable suspicion of impairment exists. Reasonable suspicion can include noticing a person is stumbling and slurring. A manager, supervisor, or coworker does not actually need to see you take drugs before you are asked to submit to a urine test.
Evidence of being high at work justifies discipline up to and including termination. The steps the employer can take depend on written policies and applicable laws. If you have been told you were fired for cause because you tested positive for marijuana use, you may still want to speak with an employee rights attorney. When, why, and how a drug test was conducted and interpreted all affect what managers ad supervisors can legally do with the test results.
Based in Columbus and with offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other Ohio cities, lawyers with The Friedmann Firm offer free consultations on all types of wrongful termination cases. You can speak with an attorney by calling 614.610.9755, or you can schedule an appointment online.
Rachel was absolutely amazing. As an attorney she really took the time to really listen to my concerns. She was honest and kept me informed every step of the way. The outcome was favorable on my behalf and I appreciate her efforts to achieve a good outcome. I would highly recommend her and the Friedmann firm to represent me if ever needed in future.
Working with Rachel Sabo from Friedmann Firm was absolutely amazing! She upholds integrity, honesty and without a doubt fights for what is right! Rachel was extremely transparent and real! Please don’t let wrong be right, Rachel will strive to advocate and put her whole heart in obtaining resolve in your situation! What an absolute blessing, she won my case in less than 1 week💪
My experience with the Friedmann Firm is an absolute 5 stars. From my very first call with Karen, to all of my communication with Rachel, everything exceeded all of my expectations. Rachel and Karen were so caring and understanding in a very sensitive situation. They responded immediately to any questions or concerns I had. I would HIGHLY recommend the Friedmann Firm. They are caring, professional, understanding, and I would trust them with any issue I have in the future.
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm were fantastic to work with. The thought of needing an employment lawyer was scary for me, it was confusing and complex. But Rachel listened, asked questions and took time to really understand me and my priorities. I felt calm, supported and excited for the first time in weeks after talking to her!! We worked together to review everything, set expectations and meet my priorities! Thanks Rachel and team for all your work!!!
Rachel Friedmann of the Friedman Firm was my attorney for a very recent legal matter. I would highly recommend Rachel based on her legal knowledge, her honest appraisal of the matter and expected outcomes, her open communication and timely responses to my questions and the matter itself, and her steadfastness in dealing with the opposing counsel until a final agreement was reached.
Rachel and her staff went over and above the call of duty to help me achieve fiscal resolution to my legal issue. She wasn’t always available to talk but was always responsive via text and email when in court out of the office and even on vacation. I feel she earned her percentage cut.
Couldn’t be happier with the representation I received from Jamie Bailey on my civil litigation case. She worked tirelessly to resolve the case and in the end negotiated a fair settlement on my behalf. I would highly recommend her to anyone! Thanks for everything Friedman law firm.
Friedman Firm was a great help in a difficult time in my life. They went above and beyond to get me back on track. Rachel was so good to work with and is extremely knowledgeable about the law and employment rights. Can't thank them enough for all there hard work. Highly recommend them to anyone.
The Friedmann Firm (specifically Pete Friedmann) represented me through what seemed like a never ending employment discrimination suit. The suit was filed just before Covid shut everything down in 2020. Add to that a former employer who refused to admit fault. In spite of all of that, Pete stood resolute in his representation of me and working for the best outcome for me. We ended up settling prior to trial and I was more than satisfied with the results. Pete was always available to answer questions and reassure me throughout this process. I highly recommend The Friedmann Firm!
Pete Friedmann and his firm are fantastic. He represented me for more than a year going through a suit with a previous employer. He walked me through every step of the process and was always quick to respond to any questions I had. My settlement came in and we parted ways with both sides being pleased with the outcome. I highly recommend the Friedmann firm and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future if the need arose. Thank you, Pete!
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm have been amazing to work with. Rachel was very helpful, listened to our concerns and took our case. She communicated well throughout and really worked for us. We were very well represented!
I loved working with The Friedmann Firm. Rachel and Jamie are exceptional lawyers and were diligent in reviewing my case and letting me know of my options. Jamie was extremely thorough and handled even the smallest details of my case with ease. The entire process was seamless and they were always quick to respond to emails and calls. I would definitely recommend working with The Friedmann Firm.
I would recommend Rachel Sabo Friedmann and the Friedmann firm for severance negotiations. Rachel was always available and responsive and made an effort to ensure I was updated on every step of the process. Her diligent efforts produced a prompt resolution and we are very happy with the results!