Is this legal?

  1. Not sure if this is the correct forum...?

    We have a policy where I work, that marijuana is confiscated from patient belongings when they are admitted, unless they have a medical marijuana card.

    We are in California where it is legal for recreational use. Our administrators tell us that we must abide by the Federal laws regarding this and not the California law.

    Generally, I'm not against people using marijuana with certain exceptions like kids and mentally ill who can be adversely effected. It just seems to me we are "stealing" legal personal property.

    Its confusing to me from the legal aspect. Another example: Drug paraphernalia can be confiscated and yet it is legally sold in stores all over the place here.

    Can anyone shed shed some light on this?
  2. Visit BeenThere2012 profile page

    About BeenThere2012, ADN

    Joined: May '16; Posts: 774; Likes: 1,161

    39 Comments

  3. by   kaylee.
    This is a good question. In California also. This happened once, where a patient had some pot, not a lot, but we did not take it from him, because it is legal to own and his property. Its like if they had a pack of cigs. Unless they were trying to light up, there is no justification for taking them.
  4. by   chare
    What do you do with it after confiscation? Do you discard it? Or turn it over to hospital police/security for them to dispose of?

    As for your facility's decision to follow federal law, has your legal department provided a recommendation?

    And last, regarding marijuana being "legal personal property." As you noted, it remains a schedule 1 agent.
    While a state technically can't make it "legal," it can choose to not criminalize it on the state level, and to not enforce the federal statute.
  5. by   That Guy
    Most of their funding comes from federal not state sources. You bet they will abide by their rules over state rules, or so I would think.
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from BeenThere2012
    Not sure if this is the correct forum...?

    We have a policy where I work, that marijuana is confiscated from patient belongings when they are admitted, unless they have a medical marijuana card.

    We are in California where it is legal for recreational use. Our administrators tell us that we must abide by the Federal laws regarding this and not the California law.

    Generally, I'm not against people using marijuana with certain exceptions like kids and mentally ill who can be adversely effected. It just seems to me we are "stealing" legal personal property.

    Its confusing to me from the legal aspect. Another example: Drug paraphernalia can be confiscated and yet it is legally sold in stores all over the place here.

    Can anyone shed shed some light on this?
    The patients aren't being held against their wills, I assume. Laws aside, they can leave the hospital if they don't agree with hospital policy.
    I used to work for a place that would store the stuff in lockers in the nurses' station and return it to the patients at discharge. I don't know how if affects everyone else, but it gives me massive headaches that nothing will get rid of. I'm not sure any department should have to deal with that sort of thing.
  7. by   Luchador
    This is a great question and illustrates how stupid our laws our regarding weed-- recreational legal in more and more states yet illegal at the Federal level. LAX now says you can fly out with weed in a carry on-- but if the feds stop you in the airport they can bust you with it. Ridiculous.

    Sounds like your hospital is following fed guidelines.


    Planes themselves are also subject to federal law, which means you could still face fines or detention for carrying pot, even if Los Angeles police decline to prosecute -- at minimum, you don't want to miss your flight by getting held up.
    LAX airport to allow marijuana in carry-ons | CNN Travel
  8. by   EllaBella1
    The legality of marijuana in general is really complicated. I don't think your hospital is necessarily wrong to abide by the federal law in this case. I personally would just skirt the issue by telling the patient "Hey you can't have that with you here, either I need to send it to security or you can send it home with family/friends."
  9. by   hherrn
    Quote from chare
    What do you do with it after confiscation? Do you discard it? Or turn it over to hospital police/security for them to dispose of?

    As for your facility's decision to follow federal law, has your legal department provided a recommendation?

    And last, regarding marijuana being "legal personal property." As you noted, it remains a schedule 1 agent.
    While a state technically can't make it "legal," it can choose to not criminalize it on the state level, and to not enforce the federal statute.
    I recommend burning it.
  10. by   JadedCPN
    Quote from hherrn
    I recommend burning it.
    I don't even smoke, and this has me cracking up so hard!!
  11. by   Have Nurse
    Quote from kaylee.
    This is a good question. In California also. This happened once, where a patient had some pot, not a lot, but we did not take it from him, because it is legal to own and his property. Its like if they had a pack of cigs. Unless they were trying to light up, there is no justification for taking them.
    Maybe not, but for Risk Management purposes, it should be locked up with any valuable and a receipt given at the hospital.
  12. by   Katillac
    Am I the crazy one here? Abiding by a federal law prohibiting marijuana possession means specifically you don't possess marijuana, not that you steal it from somebody. Because that's what confiscating is (as the OP is feeling) when you have no legal authority to do so - theft. Staff aren't even mandated reporters of marijuana possession, nor of positive tests for controlled substances. Furthermore, does your facility set itself up to enforce all federal laws? If not, its selective enforcement is unethical.

    As a nurse who does home visits, we are specifically prohibited from requiring patients surrender medications they are no longer taking (although we educate and offer to destroy narcotics) because the meds are the patient's property. Why should a hospital be different?
  13. by   mdavis2018
    That is a great question. I am in CA as well. I would think that taking it from the patient would may cross a fine line, as it is legal to have, in small amounts. I would understand having it locked up if the patient was hospitalized
  14. by   JKL33
    Quote from Katillac
    Furthermore, does your facility set itself up to enforce all federal laws? If not, its selective enforcement is unethical.
    I was wondering whether staff are required to search patients' belongings. And if so - - are LOLs' purses being dumped out, or are they only harassing people who look like stoners? Or is it only imperative to confiscate it if someone notices it?

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