Since Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) was signed into law on April 17, 2016, the Department of Health has been busy implementing the Medical Marijuana Program. Jack Lehr Electric declined to comment for this story, through an attorney. How long is marijuana use detectable in a drug test? marijuana card at the time of the positive drug . Youve been reading our work. A workplace drug screening that showed cannabis use was consistently a fireable offense across the US until recent years. Use of medical marijuana is probably not a "legitimate medical reason" for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test; thus, the test will be deemed positive. I feel like I have a target on my back, Douglas told Spotlight PA in June. Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to flag for us, Snare wrote the next day. His attorneys wrote that Longenecker selected products from the warehouse and helped load them onto trucks, a job that paid $22 an hour. In fact, there are more than half a million registered patients and caregivers, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. But he didnt want to stop using cannabis to treat his pain. So having a marijuana card is the only way to get legal access to medical marijuana until then. InvestigationUnimpaired, UnemployedWorkers in Pennsylvania cant be fired for having a doctors approval for medical marijuana but once they actually use it, its a whole different story.Sept. Security officials will check your marijuana card before allowing you in. The federal agencys May interpretation noted that its rules dont ban employers from creating their own process to drug test people in his position.I feel like I have a target on my back, Douglas told Spotlight PA in June.A spokesperson for Philadelphia Gas Works wouldnt answer questions about Douglas situation or broader questions about its drug testing policies.PGWs first responsibility is always the safety of our employees, customers, and communities across the City of Philadelphia and ensuring safety throughout all our operations, spokesperson Richard Barnes said in an email.Asking for clarityAttorneys in a Lancaster County case recently asked Pennsylvania Superior Court judges to provide guidance on what it takes to win a wrongful termination lawsuit under the states medical marijuana law and specifically what protections employees have if they exclusively use marijuana on an off-duty basis.That case centers on Joseph Clark Jr., who worked for JRK Enterprises as a flagger, directing traffic at construction sites. But he didnt want to stop using cannabis to treat his pain. While non-safety-sensitive workers can rely on significant employment protections thanks to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, the bill doesn't prevent employers from enacting drug testing policies in their workplaces, even for those with valid medical marijuana licenses. That means that, among other things, an employer or potential employer, if youre looking for work cant legally fire or refuse to hire you just because you use medical marijuana. He said several of the conditions that qualify people for medical marijuana cancer, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe chronic pain are conditions that firefighters get as a result of things that happen on the job., I have had firefighters tell me that its changed their life dramatically, Leech said. During your first visit to a weed dispensary in Pennsylvania, you'll need to have your Pennsylvania state ID or driver's license and medical marijuana card. More than 30 employer groups, including the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, have urged the legislature to provide clear guidance on marijuana and workplace safety issues. Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, PACE and PACENET, offer low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. In Delaware, MedExpress is referred to as MedExpress Walk-In Care. They took what was a bright line rule and they completely muddied it up in a way that nobody can really make any sense out of, McCreary said of lawmakers. The clause states that: "A PATIENT MAY BE PROHIBITED BY AN EMPLOYER FROM PERFORMING ANY DUTY WHICH COULD RESULT IN A PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY RISK WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Its expensive and time-consuming to fight these cases in court and the outcome is uncertain.More From 3. Here are a few examples: Arizona, Minnesota, and Delaware say employers cant punish patients based on a positive drug test for marijuana unless they used, possessed, or were impaired at work or on duty. While Pennsylvania lawmakers havent changed protections for workers, some employers and local governments have adjusted their own policies. Thats all true for employees of private companies, . That led the companys president to flag his marijuana use as a public safety issue and issue him an ultimatum: pass a drug test or lose his job. What are the qualifying conditions in PA? Depending on how valuable you are to . Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest not profit motives. The nationally recognized level of impairment for drunken driving is .08 g/mL blood alcohol concentration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In fact, there are more than half a million registered patients and caregivers, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. They said he was told he could return to work in a position that would not require him to operate power equipment.The Longenecker case ended earlier this year later after the two sides privately resolved the lawsuit and asked a judge to dismiss the case. In 2018, Pittsburgh firefighters worked out an agreement with city officials that created specific protections for medical marijuana cardholders who use the drug off duty. I gotba med card. Box 69008 Harrisburg, PA 17106-9008 By Fax: 717-783-5429 Its expensive and time-consuming to fight these cases in court and the outcome is uncertain. Mayo Clinic Laboratories estimates that urine drug tests, the most common type, will detect marijuana use for about three to 30 days, depending on how frequently the person used cannabis.How long are people impaired from cannabis?That varies, too, but studies related to driving and cognition have shown that occasional recreational users return to a generally nonimpaired state within 3 to 6 hours after smoking marijuana, according to a 2015 report from two occupational health groups.Is there a standard definition of impairment for cannabis?No. But, she says, the laws have limitations, especially for those who use medical marijuana to manage debilitating physical ailments. It is, therefore . He pushed back, and a federal oversight agency under the Department of Transportation later ruled in his favor. Asked June 14, 2017. . Has your Pennsylvania employer or prospective employer asked you to take a drug test? A Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision could offer clarity, but McCreary said the best way to resolve the issue is for the legislature to tell us what it meant.. We dont believe vital investigative and public-service journalism should be hidden behind a paywall or only for those who can afford a subscription fee. The application process takes about 7 to 10 days on average. A positive drug test for any illegal drug or illegally-used prescription drug is grounds for punishment and possibly discharge from the military. Likewise, Pennsylvania employees have no cannabis protections outside of authorized medical use. How long are people impaired from cannabis? We still have the right to earn a living.Clark filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, where the two sides have sparred over federal requirements and safety issues.Clarks counsel claimed he never used marijuana on the job, never worked impaired or under the influence, and never consumed marijuana within eight hours of the start of a shift.Meanwhile, attorneys for JRK Enterprises argued that he would expose the company to legal risks if an accident occurred.Employers cannot both be held accountable for maintaining a safe workplace and be unable to discharge employees for marijuana use, they wrote in court filings.In late August, Pennsylvania Superior Court declined to weigh in on the case, and it is continuing in Lancaster Countys court system.Unemployment benefits deniedAfter employees lose their job, they can run into other problems.Robert Moyer was a warehouse worker for Jack Lehr Electric in Lehigh County, earning $16.50 an hour, until February 2020, when he was fired because a drug test came back positive for marijuana use, according to unemployment board records. (Steven M. Falk of The Philadelphia Inquirer), It helps with pain. Yes for full time. That led the companys president to flag his marijuana use as a public safety issue and issue him an ultimatum: pass a drug test or lose his job.An Allentown company fired a warehouse worker after he tested positive for marijuana use. The medical marijuana users will soon be driving with the marijuana metabolites . With gratitude, We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider.Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest not profit motives.Our readers keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone whether they can afford to pay for news, or not. While state law protects workers from being fired or denied a job just for having a doctors permission to use marijuana, those protections become opaque when people actually take the drug regardless of whether they do it in their personal time. report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Clark later found a job at another business. It should be more clear, Moyer told Spotlight PA. A lot of people dont know. 3. First: Register as a medical marijuana patient The first step is to register as a medical marijuana patient with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Pennsylvania Court: Medical Marijuana Act Allows Employees to Sue for Bias The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently held that the state's medical marijuana act allowed an employee to sue. He started working for the company in 2013, and an email exchange included as an exhibit in the case shows how he lost his job. Businesses dont want to have to guess which positions are appropriate for medical marijuana patients and which ones are off limits, said McCreary, the Pittsburgh attorney who has represented employers in these disputes. And what are the limitations? Workers described how medical marijuana helped them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other conditions. Robert Moyer was a warehouse worker for Jack Lehr Electric in Lehigh County, earning $16.50 an hour, until February 2020, when he was fired because a drug test came back positive for marijuana use, according to unemployment board records. There are other activities that are designated zero tolerance at work, Auerbach says, meaning that you cant do them if you are under the influence of medical marijuana at work (but you still should be able to medicate off work hours). Meanwhile, attorneys for JRK Enterprises argued that he would expose the company to legal risks if an accident occurred. best-of, and more. Although Pennsylvania's MMP has been around for almost five years now, medical cannabis still has a ways to go. A urine drug test would be the primary tool for determining if those workers were under the influence of marijuana. Still, he worries the company could find another reason to drug test him. Pennsylvanias medical marijuana law doesnt define impairment. Here is what you need to know. To be on the safe side, they cannot be using marijuana at work or be under the influence while at work. Pre-Employment Urine Test as a Med Card Holder. And some states offer stronger protections. plus a daily puzzle. 2023Spotlight PA228 Walnut St., #11728Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728. Thats a fairly common outcome, as many cases Spotlight PA reviewed were withdrawn before a judge ruled on the merits of the case. 2022, Pennsylvania Department of Health, August Its possible, depending on the job, Auerbach says. This SeriesRare disciplinary case against Pa. doctor offers glimpse into the big business of medical marijuana cardsHealth officials in Pa. face scrutiny over weak oversight of medical marijuana doctorsA behind-the-scenes look at Spotlight PAs analysis of 1 million medical marijuana certificationsHow anxiety came to dominate the big business of medical marijuana cards in PennsylvaniaPa. They are being forced to choose between their jobs and their medicine. Hes a drafter who creates construction drawings for the pipes that connect gas to peoples homes and businesses. Show moreKey PointsVague protections in Pennsylvanias medical marijuana law create unnecessary confusion and force workers to choose between their job and a doctor-approved drug.Employers say they have to juggle creating a safe work environment with the potential for a wrongful termination lawsuit.More than a dozen workers have filed lawsuits alleging they were punished for being a medical marijuana patient or legally using the drug. They said he was told he could return to work in a position that would not require him to operate power equipment.. Philadelphia Gas Works in June agreed to return him to full duty, remove all discipline in connection with his November drug test, and pay $375 to an addiction treatment provider for his outstanding bill, according to copies of the settlement obtained by Spotlight PA. Douglas is happy to be back in his regular job doing work he enjoys. . For the more than 400,000 medical marijuana patients in the state, the stakes are high. People want jobs, not lawsuits, Auerbach says. In many cases, using medical marijuana while on the job is at the discretion of your employer. Show moreKey PointsVague protections in Pennsylvanias medical marijuana law create unnecessary confusion and force workers to choose between their job and a doctor-approved drug.Employers say they have to juggle creating a safe work environment with the potential for a wrongful termination lawsuit.More than a dozen workers have filed lawsuits alleging they were punished for being a medical marijuana patient or legally using the drug. Copy of your valid DOT medical card. who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.If you value this reporting, please give a gift today at When Pennsylvania lawmakers successfully passed a medical marijuana bill in 2016, they set specific blood limits for users working in a few jobs: ones that require people to operate certain chemicals, high-voltage electricity, or any other public utility. The U.S. Department of Transportation, for instance, says pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, ship captains all deemed safety-sensitive employees fall under its drug testing requirements and cant use the drug. However, there is a common law on wrongful discharge and two official provisions that controls an employer's drug testing program in the workplace. What do I need for my appointment? Vague legal safeguards for medical marijuana users in Pennsylvania are forcing patients to choose between their job and a drug they say has changed their life, and leaving skittish employers vulnerable to lawsuits, according to a three-month Spotlight PA investigation. . I am sorry but as of now, you no longer work for us.. I just dont know what our policy is on it and what would happen if I was sent out for a urine, Clark wrote, referring to a drug test and adding that he didnt want anyone to be caught off guard with this.. And its unlikely that an employer will ask if you are one (though thats not prohibited by law). Spotlight PASupport This Work Ed MahonSpotlight PAIllustrations by 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE Washington, DC 20590 United States. Does wegmans drug test part time 15 year olds? They can potentially discipline you for that.. 2022Pennsylvania Department of Health, July We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider. In Harrisburg, negotiations over employment protections have been lengthy and challenging, state Sen. Michele Brooks (R., Mercer) said during a committee hearing earlier this year. The safety question is a complex one. Show moreMarijuana, testing and impairmentHow long is marijuana use detectable in a drug test?It varies. So, while a Medical Marijuana card will not show up on a federal background check, if you've had any run-ins with the law that are connected to marijuana use and/or possession (even if it was medical), you can still face problems if someone performs a . I have quit smoking in the meantime just in case, but it will . In conclusion, there are several potential changes to Pennsylvania's marijuana laws that could occur in 2023. Is there a standard definition of impairment for cannabis? Everyone deserves access to the facts.Especially in tighter economic times, people should not be forced to choose between the essentials, and essential news.Thats why we need your help now.Your support enables us to continue to produce tough, unique reporting you wont find anywhere else. Clark said he asked potential employers if using marijuana would affect his hiring and was told it would. How to become a caregiver in PA? Many have been settled before a judge could rule on the merits of the case.Employers and workers alike have asked for greater clarity but the legislature and governor have so far failed to explicitly outline the rights of scores of employers and workers.It essentially makes no sense, Pittsburgh attorney John McCreary Jr., who represents employers, told Spotlight PA.Some jobs are specifically regulated by state and federal drug testing rules, but most fall into a gray area that leaves the interpretation of the rules up to employers and the courts. who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results. In some cases, employees alleged they were punished without even undergoing a drug test.In February 2021, a Weis Markets distribution center in Northumberland County sent employee Blake Longenecker home for five days after his medical marijuana card fell out of his wallet at work, according to his lawsuit. I hope you appreciated this article. Contact Us. 2022Pennsylvania Department of Health, August Get Certified by a Physician Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care. Conclusion. Juvenile Law Center. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court also has not issued an opinion that specifically clarifies protections for workers.Businesses dont want to have to guess which positions are appropriate for medical marijuana patients and which ones are off limits, said McCreary, the Pittsburgh attorney who has represented employers in these disputes.They took what was a bright line rule and they completely muddied it up in a way that nobody can really make any sense out of, McCreary said of lawmakers.Fights in courtsIn lawsuits, medical marijuana patients said they were denied or fired from a variety of jobs: forklift operator, welder, medical assistant, construction worker, emergency medical technician, and customer service representative.Workers described how medical marijuana helped them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other conditions. Philadelphia Gas Works included Douglas, but he said he primarily works on a computer. Now join thousands of your friends and neighbors in supporting it. If you have one of these conditions, and you obtain your physician's certification, you can visit the state's Department of Health website and apply for your Pennsylvania medical marijuana card. So employers and employees are both left with a lot of ambiguity.Some places have found a way to reduce uncertainty. You usually have to pay a fee to get this card. Often this term is used in the context of drivers who pose a safety risk.The nationally recognized level of impairment for drunken driving is .08 g/mL blood alcohol concentration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many have been settled before a judge could rule on the merits of the case.Employers and workers alike have asked for greater clarity but the legislature and governor have so far failed to explicitly outline the rights of scores of employers and workers. (By contrast, the ADA applies to companies with 15 or more employees, while the PHRA is applicable to companies with four or more employees.). PaulaTexas patient. The law also allows employers to prevent workers from performing any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk while under the influence of medical marijuana, a provision that can be interpreted many ways. Christopher Baxter Thats a fairly common outcome, as many cases Spotlight PA reviewed were withdrawn before a judge ruled on the merits of the case.A spokesperson for Weis and an attorney who represented Longenecker declined to comment for this story.A dispute over federal rulesMarijuana is still illegal at the federal level, which can create additional complications for some industries. foundations and readers like you A review of more than a dozen state and federal lawsuits by Spotlight PA highlights the laws ambiguity, showing the ramifications faced by legal marijuana users. Random Testing Most MMJ programs also have a minimum age limit of 21. 2. My confidence is still shattered, Clark said in an interview. Your support enables us to continue to produce tough, unique reporting you wont find anywhere else. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential consultation today. Taxpaying medical marijuana cardholders are finding really no safe harbor on the job, which should be guaranteed under existing Pennsylvania law, Todd Eachus, a member of the pro-cannabis legalization group Perfectly Normal, told lawmakers last year. Vaccinations. Pennsylvania Appellate Decision The Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision on Aug. 5, 2021, that also could impact employers throughout the state when they conduct pre-employment drug tests on applicants who are certified users of medical marijuana. Jamie Gullen, JD, supervising attorney with Community Legal Services of Philadelphias employment unit. Pittsburghs firefighters union worked out a deal with city officials that protects medical marijuana cardholders who use the drug off duty. But there is no similar national standard for drugged driving.. Cannabis Care Consultants' licensed Medical Marijuana Doctors certify patients for a medical marijuana card through EASY, SAFE telemedicine appointments. 1-877-564-2333 contact form J. J. Keller. Ordinarily, that law would require an employer to make a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability but because marijuana is federally illegal, Gullen notes, the ADA wouldnt apply. Editor in ChiefCLICK TO CONTRIBUTE NOW ReportingEd MahonSpotlight PAemahon@spotlightpa.orgIllustrationsLeise HookSpotlight PAEditingSarah HutchinsInvestigations Editorshutchins@spotlightpa.orgFact-Checking and Copy EditingStephen KearseAssistant Editorskearse@spotlightpa.orgLayoutEthan Edward CostonSpotlight PA100% Essential ReportingSpotlight PA relies on funding from Pennsylvania has a three-step process for patients to obtain a medical cannabis card. All of those laws include exceptions if federal laws or rules require drug testing. It essentially makes no sense, Pittsburgh attorney John McCreary Jr., who represents employers, told Spotlight PA. When Pennsylvania lawmakers successfully passed a medical marijuana bill in 2016, they set specific blood limits for users working in a few jobs: ones that require people to operate certain chemicals, high-voltage electricity, or any other public utility. The main provision of the Act as it pertains to use of marijuana by a licensee is 510, (4). But he didnt want to stop using marijuana. And thats likely true even if you are using medical marijuana for something that would be considered a disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. I am sorry but as of now, you no longer work for us.Clark later found a job at another business. Now join thousands of your friends and neighbors in supporting it.With gratitude, The number of urine drug screens in Pennsylvania that included marijuana dropped from nearly 99% in 2017 to 88% in 2021, according to workforce data from Quest Diagnostics. Those include: Work performed at heights or in confined spaces, (such as mining). PGWs first responsibility is always the safety of our employees, customers, and communities across the City of Philadelphia and ensuring safety throughout all our operations, spokesperson Richard Barnes said in an email. He doesnt work on live gas, has never used marijuana at work, and has never shown up to work high, he told Spotlight PA. After a random drug test in November indicated he had used marijuana, Douglas said the company reassigned him and forced him to attend outpatient addiction treatment therapy. Mississippi, which legalized medical marijuana last Wednesday after the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act also known as Senate Bill 2095 was signed into law, also has protections that. But he told Spotlight PA in July that uncertainty over workplace policies on marijuana limited his options. Always be aware of your state laws concerning drug testing for employers and job applicants. Contest the punishment. // *VA healthcare enrollees do not require a referral or prior authorization and can receive . If you work in the service industry, hospitality, or at a desk job, you are likely to get the laws full protections, but blue collar employees may not be protected from being fired or not hired.. Medical marijuana patient reciprocity in the United States is currently allowed in Arizona , Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington DC. And it seems like were not. You need a state issued medical card to purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary in Pennsylvania. 2022, His former employer sued the unemployment board in Commonwealth Court, arguing that Moyer shouldnt be eligible because he violated the companys drug policy and his marijuana use created a safety risk. He was demoted from that job to one that paid almost half, according to the lawsuit.Longenecker asked if he could keep his old job if he took a drug test and the results came back negative, but a human resource manager denied the request, his attorneys claimed.Attorneys for Weis Markets acknowledged that Longenecker was sent home after his medical marijuana card was found at the facility, but the company denied discriminating against him. Spotlight PA relies on funding from Otherwise, she says, there may not be any need to alert the employer, provided you only use marijuana at home, and dont think it will realistically come up while on the job. (Medical card only, not the long form.) However, you will not be able to continue to work for us while using marijuana, even though it is prescription, Snare wrote. Residents of 33 states plus D.C can access medical marijuana. Pennsylvanias law doesnt specifically address the rights of patients to use the drug when they arent at work, and unlike some other states, it doesnt include protections for them if they fail a drug test but are not impaired. The lack of clarity is frustrating for employers too. In a recent Pennsylvania court case, a worker's medical marijuana identification card expired and they tested positive on a drug test for employment. You might, however, have a case under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, or the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance at the city level. The Department of Transportation's Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation - 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151 (e) - does not authorize "medical marijuana" under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee's positive drug test result. Clarks counsel claimed he never used marijuana on the job, never worked impaired or under the influence, and never consumed marijuana within eight hours of the start of a shift. General DQ Questions Medical Exams Audits. Despite widespread demands for clarity from businesses, cannabis advocates, attorneys, and at least one judge, the legislature and governor have so far failed to explicitly outline the rights of scores of workers and employers.