For nurses in WA or CO

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Just a curiosity on how things work with marijuana being legalized and your job. It's not legalized in my state but some of my coworkers and I were talking about if we would even be allowed to use it outside of work if/when it becomes legalized here. Our drug screening policy is if there are any mistakes made or suspicious they send you straight down to the ER for blood and urine testing. What is your work policy for thc if it is legalized in your state? Just a curiosity really

JustBeachyNurse, RN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 13 years experience.

The BoN doesn't consider the legality of the substance if you make an error or are impaired at work. Prescribed narcotics and alcohol are legal, use at work and risk your license.

klone, MSN, RN

14,415 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Every employer is different, but where I work, they have said in no uncertain terms that if someone tests positive, they're fired, irrespective of state legality.

vbarger28

68 Posts

Specializes in Peds acute, critical care, Urgent Care. Has 5 years experience.

You cannot use it in Colorado and be actively practicing. Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it doesn't cause impairment. It would be similar to a nurse hyped up on opiods, just because it's prescribed doesn't mean you can work while on it.

Hope that clears it up a little ;)

wyosamRN

108 Posts

Specializes in ED, OR, Oncology. Has 6 years experience.

No one is saying it should be OK to be impaired while working. The problem is that the drug test commonly used (aside from what is currently evolving to enforce drugged driving in states where pot has been legalized), doesn't test for current intoxication, it just tests for recent past use (over the weekend, or last weekend etc..). At some point, hopefully this changes. I know plenty of great nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers who occasionally (or even fairly regularly) smoke pot- not impaired at work of course. They are no different than those who like to have a drink or two. I know far more healthcare providers who abuse (or use excessively, get completely wasted etc.) alcohol, than pot. The pot smokers I know tend to use pretty minimally and most would not necessarily recognize them as impaired- they stay pretty functional.

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.
Every employer is different, but where I work, they have said in no uncertain terms that if someone tests positive, they're fired, irrespective of state legality.

Plus we are technically considered a federal facility so it and any other drug has to be destroyed if found on the person. I can't tell you how much weed ( and mollie, LSD, etc etc ) has been destroyed because of this.

MNNICU, RN

60 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

This is exactly what I was meaning! Of course we know you could never go to work under the influence but if I smoked two days before the test and tested positive how is that fair??? I have never been prescribed narcotics since I was actively working as a nurse but I wonder how they can tell from the test if you were under the influence?? Just wondering how it would work in a different state that's legalized

MNNICU, RN

60 Posts

Specializes in NICU.
No one is saying it should be OK to be impaired while working. The problem is that the drug test commonly used (aside from what is currently evolving to enforce drugged driving in states where pot has been legalized), doesn't test for current intoxication, it just tests for recent past use (over the weekend, or last weekend etc..). At some point, hopefully this changes. I know plenty of great nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers who occasionally (or even fairly regularly) smoke pot- not impaired at work of course. They are no different than those who like to have a drink or two. I know far more healthcare providers who abuse (or use excessively, get completely wasted etc.) alcohol, than pot. The pot smokers I know tend to use pretty minimally and most would not necessarily recognize them as impaired- they stay pretty functional.

This was what I was referring to

RiskManager

1 Article; 615 Posts

Specializes in Healthcare risk management and liability.

Here in Washington state, our state Supreme Court has ruled that if an employee is using medical marijuana for a clinical purpose, the employer can still fire them for violation of the employer's drug policy. Every healthcare facility of which I am aware of here in the state forbids recreational or medical use of marijuana by staff, and you can be discharged for cause by doing so.

Dranger

1,871 Posts

I live in WA, doesn't matter if its legal you will still be fired.

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 14 years experience.

In California, same rules go, it might be legal, but if you are tested and it's found in your system,as a nurse you can be fired because it breaks company policy. For all intents and purposes, marijuana may be legalized but still is off limits to those in many careers.

I have yet to encounter or hear of a hospital where this is not the standard.