OPINION: Why is medical marijuana use affecting job opportunities?

Medical marijuana is legal in almost all states as of the midterm elections according to the Chicago Sun Times, including Illinois. One might think as long as it’s legal, it’s okay, but recent news sources like KRQE have shown that using cannabis can affect employment even if used for medical purposes.


Marijuana has been shown to be non-addictive and extremely helpful in patients with conditions such as ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, PTSD, and so many other debilitating diseases and conditions. If cannabis is truly helping people with chronic issues such as these – legally, no less – then why do workplaces feel the need to regulate their personnel by making them take drug tests with a focus on marijuana?


The assumption that it shouldn’t take place in the office is understandable, but if usage only occurs outside the office, it shouldn’t matter to employers. It’s no different from alcohol consumption in reference to the workplace. It is important to remember, however, that cannabis can be used to treat serious illnesses and diseases, so employers should have no right to test their employees for cannabis in drug tests, or at the very least provide an exception if the employee can show it was obtained legally.


If marijuana can help someone in the treatment of an illness, that should not affect their employability or the job they already have. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, as long as it’s used solely outside of the workplace, it’s users should not feel those effects either.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with using marijuana as long as it is legal, and employers should take up the same view. People who have found help through cannabis, whether it be medical or recreational, should be able to continue to benefit from the drug without their employers telling them their job is more important than their health, whether it be physical or mental.


Since only medical marijuana is legal in Illinois right now, if you’re an employer or employee who is using or knows of someone using cannabis for medical reasons, make sure to push for the change we need to see. Workers should not be punished for doing something that is perfectly legal, no matter what their employer’s reservations may be.


(3) comments

Edward Melton

I will echo the two comments above, it is NOT legal! The supremacy clause in The Constitution ensures state law does not trump federal law. It is that simple. I agree that marijuana seems to have serious medical benefits but until the feds change the classification of it, open it up for medical research and use, it is an illegal substance. As it is, the states that have made it "legal" are doing so illegally and quite frankly I would suspect a good number of the users who get a medical card do so for recreational purposes. BTW, employers also test people for being under the influence of alcohol at work too.

Jo De

As it currently stands, marijuana use is illegal on the federal level. Any company that has a contract with the federal government (most of the major companies you can think of) are required to not allow marijuana use. It's not a falling back issue, it's a loss of major contract issue.

Larry Martinelli

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and companies will always fall back to federal law. It really is that simple.

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