Medical Marijuana and nursing

Nurses Recovery


So, I live in a state where medical marijuana is now quite common, but it hasn't been addressed well in the workplace, in terms of how it will be addressed in drug screens. I'm potentially facing a situation where I may be drug tested, (not routine in my facility) and not quite sure how to handle this. Obviously, I have my card for a legitimate medical reason. I never, repeat, never use my medicine anytime I am near working hours under any circumstances. My reason for the drug test is for a different reason entirely, but obviously it will show up. So, do I tell them about my card, do I not? Tricky situation...Any experience, opinions? I'm thinking of consulting an attorney, have already contacted my union rep in regards to the overlying situation.

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I would bet that your state BON has addressed the issue. You might want to do a search here because I know we've had several threads about this topic.

The very tricky part is that although individual States are legalizing it is still against Federal law. Very shaky grounds that are bound to shift with the political winds.

Specializes in Impaired Nurse Advocate, CRNA, ER,.

Consider consulting an experienced license defense attorney in your state. When it comes to this (and other) issues that might potentially cause problems with licensure, they are the experts.

The American Association of Nurse Attorneys should be able to supply you with nurse attorneys in your state.

I know, "but attorneys are expensive"!

Not nearly as expensive as having restrictions on your license, getting fired, being monitored for 3 - 5 years by the BON and possible lawsuits if a patient or their family decide to sue the hospital and your use (despite the prescription) becomes an issue. When it comes to legal issues and your license, go to the people trained to deal with those issues.

Keep us posted. Your experience might be helpful to someone else happening to read this thread.

Good luck!


I don't know the facts on marijuana cards and ADA, but even in California it is still kind of a grey area. Always better to be on the safe side.

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

There are numerous threads on this topic.

First, the drug is still illegal by federal statute, which still trumps state legality in most cases.

Second, just because something is prescribed and/or legal does not mean that an employer will permit you work while med is being used. Examples include tobacco and some psych meds. In a few states, technically all mood modifiers can bar one from

working as a nurse - even though few enforce this, that would include most antidepressants, which some require weeks to get a therapeutic blood level.

Consult a really good lawyer.

Specializes in NICU, ER, OR.

I don't smoke anything, of any kind, never did or will, but it makes no difference whatsoever if it's state AND federal law that makes it legal--it's simply incompatible with a professional nursing license... I don't agree... but, it's true.

I never understand when I hear nurses smoke pot... the time it stays detectable in your system varies SO GREATLY... how could you risk it? I mean I'm not in any way condoning pill popping, but AT LEAST you can be confident that, say after 4 days , it's not detectable!!! I've known a few nurses who have taken pre employee physicals/ drug tests when they know , say a week ago, they smoked... crazy..the time it stays detectable varied GREATLY from person to person ..

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