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Can a nurse be on a pot card?

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by Shallow Water Shallow Water (New Member) New Member

832 Visitors; 9 Posts

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I'm a recently discharged vet and as the logic goes, I have ptsd. I do a good job of keeping it from bothering people, but I've picked up a coping mechanism that I'm too scared to ask anyone face to face about. I find marijuana useful, it helps me to escape some troubling thought processes and relate to peers better. I've considered applying for my card so that I won't have to worry about legal repercussions.

I'd never consider showing up to work on the stuff. But I haven't finished my degree yet and I just don't know where the rest of the profession stands on the issue. Can someone tell me how having a pot card will affect my nursing career? I'd rather know now and find an alternative way to cope than set myself back in a big way after all the work I've put in now.

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Silverdragon102 has 30 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

6 Followers; 1 Article; 141,915 Visitors; 38,684 Posts

You may want to consider posting for support in the nurses and recovery forum here https://allnurses.com/nurses-and-recovery/ You will also need to check out your states rules on how they respond to drug use etc

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luvthegsp specializes in Cardiac.

2,437 Visitors; 95 Posts

Federal Marijuana Law

The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. 811), which does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana. These laws are generally applied only against persons who possess, cultivate, or distribute large quantities of marijuana.

Under federal law, marijuana is treated like every other controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin. The federal government places every controlled substance in a schedule, in principle according to its relative potential for abuse and medicinal value. Under the CSA, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that the federal government views marijuana as highly addictive and having no medical value. Doctors may not "prescribe" marijuana for medical use under federal law, though they can "recommend" its use under the First Amendment.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), charged with enforcing federal drug laws, has taken a substantial interest in medical marijuana patients and caregivers in general, and large cultivation and distribution operations more specifically. Over the past few years, dozens of people have been targets of federal enforcement actions. Many of them have either been arrested or had property seized. More than a hundred are currently in prison or are facing charges or ongoing criminal or civil investigations for their cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana.

The DEA, like local enforcement agencies, can choose how to make the best use of its time. Ideally, the DEA will leave medical marijuana patients and their caregivers alone. But federal law does not yet recognize medical marijuana, and the DEA is currently allowed to use the Controlled Substances Act to arrest people for its use. In many pending and past cases, the DEA and U.S. Attorney's office have used exaggerated plant numbers and inflammatory rhetoric, as well as informants who trade jail time for testimony, to justify enforcing federal laws against medical marijuana patients and caregivers in California and other states.

Federal marijuana laws are very serious, and punishment for people found guilty is frequently very steep. Federal law still considers marijuana a dangerous illegal drug with no acceptable medicinal value. In several federal cases, judges have ruled that medical marijuana cannot be used as a defense, though defense attorneys should attempt to raise the issue whenever possible during trial. Federal law applies throughout California and the United States, not just on federal property. The key to federal property is that they are more likely than non-federal property to have federal officials monitoring it who will bust medical marijuana patients. Most likely, even if a patient is arrested and charged with a minor possession offense, he will be referred to the state authorities where he can assert a medical marijuana defense.

There are two types of federal sentencing laws: sentencing guidelines, enacted by the United States Sentencing Commission, and mandatory sentencing laws, enacted by Congress. The Sentencing Commission was created in 1987 to combat sentencing disparities across jurisdictions. The current mandatory minimum sentences were enacted in a 1986 drug bill.

Federal sentencing guidelines take into account not only the amount of marijuana but also past convictions. Not all marijuana convictions require jail time under federal sentencing guidelines, but all are eligible for imprisonment. If convicted and sentenced to jail, a minimum of 85% of that sentence must be served. The higher the marijuana amount, the more likely one is to be sentenced to jail time, as opposed to probation or alternative sentencing. Low-level offenses, even with multiple prior convictions, may end up with probation for the entire sentence of one to twelve months, and no jail time required. Possession of over 1 kg of marijuana with no prior convictions carries a sentence of six to twelve months with a possibility of probation and alternative sentencing. Over 2.5 kg with no criminal record carries a sentence of at least six months in jail; with multiple prior convictions, a sentence might be up to two years to three years in jail with no chance for probation.

Sorry for the long read...but bottom line is that pot is still illegal in this country. And on a side note, do not use your veteran status as an excuse.....we all suffer from some form of PTSD (I served for five years in the COrps)and use LEGAL means to deal with our stress

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832 Visitors; 9 Posts

Thanks for the self-rightous rhetoric Luvthegsp, I guess you've had to put your best friends in a bag one piece at a time too. As far as I can tell, no one things it's normal to react to "popping" sounds the way I do, or lose touch with reality when smelling any burns. Go ahead and tell me the next thing, I have no business being a nurse because I can't follow your almighty example. We can't all rough it out like you do in the peacecorps!

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phlox has 8 years experience and specializes in L&D,surgery,med/surg,ER,alzheimers.

4,580 Visitors; 141 Posts

I do not think Luvthegsp was being self-rightous, just very informative. I will not speak my piece as my view will be private here. Oh, and my ptsd came from having a c-section without anesthesia...think about it.

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luvthegsp specializes in Cardiac.

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Well someone is a little uptight....maybe you need to make use of your card a little more often. I do not care one way or the other if you ever become a nurse (just hope that you are not my nurse when the time comes). I was just simply stating the LAW!! All medical employers require a drug test and pothead card or not, you will still fail...

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832 Visitors; 9 Posts

The issue here is that I definately have it, I definately want a way to cope, and going to church, spending at least an hour in the gym, learning, and doing volunteer work at the food warehouse don't quite seal the deal here.

I still hate life, not my life, just life in general. I'm only happy when I'm asleep. I haven't even smoked for 3 weeks (too much risk). My ex roomate had the same problem, the difference being his coping mechanism consisted of x-box 360, mountain dew, and hot pockets day in and day out. In other words he just gave up on doing anything useful. My mom copes with having 10 kids (unappreciative kids I might add) and I don't know how she does it, being a mormon must help her, but I honestly couldn't do the things she does and cope. Maybe this could be a thread on coping skills, I'm not a complete hardhead, I listen. I just get defensive when people insinuate that I'm taking a free ride with my vet status, I don't even tell the people I volunteer with that I'm a veteran, just random people on the internet.

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Silverdragon102 has 30 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

6 Followers; 1 Article; 141,915 Visitors; 38,684 Posts

I think really you need to find another outlet for your problems. I know people sometimes scoff at counsellors but they for most if you find a good one do work and do help

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7,246 Visitors; 657 Posts

The person offers you some sound advice and this is how you thank them? A lot of veterans, fire fighters, nurses, paramedics etc. have seen a lot of bad things but trying to justify the ptsd by using illegal means is still illegal. Perhaps the first choice would be to stop using the marijuana and seek the guidance of a VA counselor or mental health professional.

Thanks for the self-rightous rhetoric Luvthegsp, I guess you've had to put your best friends in a bag one piece at a time too. As far as I can tell, no one things it's normal to react to "popping" sounds the way I do, or lose touch with reality when smelling any burns. Go ahead and tell me the next thing, I have no business being a nurse because I can't follow your almighty example. We can't all rough it out like you do in the peacecorps!

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ohmeowzer RN is a RN and specializes in ob/gyn med /surg.

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what do you want to hear ?? that it's okay to be a RN on pot ? making critical thinking decisions and taking someone's life in your hands? luvthegsp is correct.. he or she is not being judgemental they are telling you like it is.... i have 6 children and i am a mormon .. and yes it helps ... you need a new way to learn to cope.. weed is not the answer.. if going to church or gym or other things don't teach you to cope ,, then you need to talk to someone.. and soon because being a RN is not a job to take lightly.. you are not dealing with food you are dealing with human lives.. and there's alot of stress , go find aother way to deal ... don't do it with weed..... my father was veteran of the Korean war and VietNam... he flew helicopters, his helicopters were shot down 3 times.. his whole platoon was killed in front of him.. he had to hide in the woods for 7 days until he was picked up , the viet cong were looking for him,, he saw many things as a young man like you did... he never smoked weed... he went to counseling..... he graduated from Law school , and made his life good... you can to .. you need to speak to someone... find another way to cope.... sorry if you don't like my advice but that's how it is.....

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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I am not a veteran myself, but I am the daughter of a WWII veteran and the mother of two active-duty soldiers in the U.S. Army who knows a little something about stress disorders and substance abuse. And I'm going to tell you straight out: Marijuana use is not compatible with a nursing license in ANY state. Even if it were, Federal law supercedes state laws, which makes its use illegal under any circumstances.....it's only tolerated because the Feds have more important things to do than go after cancer patients who keep a couple of plants for personal use.

Legal issues aside, it seems to me that you are looking for a rationalization of, and support for, your continuing habit. From OUR end, however, to give it to you would be enabling, and we're not going to do that. Most of us have worked with people who have some type of substance abuse issue; some of us, including myself, are in various stages of recovery from it ourselves, so we recognize this desperate grasping for validation when we see it.

Now that we've settled that question: No one here is judging you. But you need to accept the fact that you cannot practice nursing according to state law and be an active marijuana user. FWIW, I smoked 'weed' for YEARS and enjoyed it a great deal, but I gave it up because nursing, and holding a steady job, were more of a priority for me.

Besides, even when I was using, I would never have wanted another user taking care of me, or God forbid, my children! I remember well how foggy my brain was after smoking........sometimes for hours, sometimes even for a couple of days depending on quality. Would you have wanted me taking care of YOU when I couldn't even put together a decent grocery list??

Now, I am strongly in favor of peoples' right to live as they choose when they are not on the job. I don't think what I do on my off time is ANY of my employer's business, and I resent the fact that Americans are almost universally forced to pee in a cup every time we start a new job. But the simple fact is, just because you think it should be OK to smoke mj and work as a nurse, doesn't make it so. I had to play by the rules, and so do you. If you want to become a nurse, go for it; if you want to keep smoking and making excuses, you can do that instead. You just don't get to do both.

IMHO, you need some competent counseling, plus an anti-depressant and/or some anti-anxiety medications, to help you get your life back. You sound seriously depressed, and pot ONLY makes that worse, I know that from experience.

I wish you luck. You are going to need it.

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TiffyRN has 26 years experience as a ADN, BSN and specializes in NICU.

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Ok, just the basics here;

For now, marijuana use (with or without a card) is not compatible with nursing practice, not in any traditional sense. Maybe someday you could find a private job as an RN with an individual who wouldn't mind, but to get there you would need some experience, and to my knowledge, most healthcare employers will not tolerate it.

Search Allnurses for opinions on current practicing nurses using legal substances (State-wide & federally) in a legal way with prescriptions in hand and being on the job. It's controversial, and using prescription meds prescribed to oneself in the way prescribed is legal in every sense. And by prescription meds here I mean things like narcotics, sedatives, benzodiazepines & such.

I encourage you to continue to help your fellow man in ways that you can, but for now, doing it as a current marijuana user is probably just going to bring you a lot of frustration, heartache, and trouble.

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