About a decade ago, the policies on marijuana in the workplace were pretty clear cut, evidence of marijuana use was grounds for termination.

Boy, have times changed.

With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and even recreational use, it’s not as black and white anymore.

In fact, I have patients asking me all sorts of questions about how the medical use of marijuana is going to affect their employment, including,

Is there a way a my employer’s going to find out that I’m using medical marijuana?

Am I going to be put on some sort of (state or federal) government list or database?

Is my use of medical marijuana going to show up on a background check?

What if I don’t pass a random drug test?  

I brought on Attorney Mitzi Vaughn to help answer all these questions and more on Ask Dr. Patel: The Medical Marijuana Expert.

Mitzi Vaughn is a managing attorney for Greenbridge Corporate Counsel.  It’s a firm based in California and entirely dedicated to advising the cannabis industry.  Mitzi Vaughn specifically oversees the Washington state practice. Greenbridge Corporate Counsel does provide legal advice on employment matters.
Before becoming an attorney for the cannabis industry, Mitzi Vaughn owned a civil litigation practice focused on healthcare and employment matters.

She is a graduate of University of California-Berkeley School of Law.

I don’t think I could’ve found a more knowledgeable or more experienced attorney to speak about this topic: marijuana in the workplace.


So, here’re are the big picture take-aways from this discussion.

  • Some states do require employers to accommodate registered medical marijuana users, while others have been mum on the issue.

As attorney Mitzi Vaughn mentioned, and per attorney Rachel E.A. Atterberry, “in these states, an employer cannot take an adverse action against an employee simply because of his or her participation in a recognized medical marijuana program.”

  • When it comes to drug testing an employee, the laws do vary by state. As Mitzi Vaughn mentioned, some states do regulate drug testing.
  • Of course, it’s also uber important to check your employer’s policies on marijuana use as well.




I hope this helps.  Of course, as always, if you have questions for me, then please post them in the comments section below.