Does Having a Medical Marijuana Card Show Up On a Background Check?

by | Last updated Jun 12, 2023 | Published on Apr 14, 2022 | Cannabinoids | 0 comments


As marijuana laws relax across the country, knowing how these changes will impact your life is essential. With more states introducing medical marijuana cards, people wonder if that will show up on a background check. However, the laws around marijuana and medical cannabis are still very complex and evolving, so let’s look at this.

States Have Different Regulations Regarding Medical Marijuana Cards and Background Checks

Across the US, 38 states have legalized medical marijuana. This number may soon expand, with other states actively working toward legalizing some form of cannabis for medicinal purposes. 

A medical marijuana card won’t show up on a background check in most states. This is mainly because your medical records are protected from the public through HIPAA. 

However, the regulations regarding medical marijuana vary from state to state, so it’s worth looking into the laws in your particular area:

  • In Maryland, the law allows for the possession and use of marijuana by a qualifying patient. However, Maryland’s law doesn’t prevent an employer from testing for the use of cannabis or taking action against an employee who tests positive for cannabis (including medical marijuana). Still, in most cases, HIPAA prevents people from accessing your medical records, which includes your medical marijuana prescription. 
  • In Alaska, for instance, employers are not permitted to penalize applicants who have medical marijuana cards. This means that having one won’t affect your ability to get hired. But it may still show up in a background check. 
  • Your status as a medical marijuana cardholder will not show up in your background check in Florida. However, Florida doesn’t offer any employment protection for medical marijuana patients. If you test positive, it’s still considered failing and can leave workers up to termination or prohibit them from securing a new job. 
  • There are no restrictions regarding pre-employment background checks and medical marijuana cards in Illinois, so employers cannot refuse to hire you based on this information.

Rules Regarding Medical Marijuana Cards Are Evolving

Medical cannabis is a relatively new topic and evolving rapidly for the public. Because of this, many are left wondering how they can best navigate the uncertainty to ensure they’re always acting by the law. This is especially important for something as sensitive as background checks.

The good news is that employers aren’t permitted to use something as innocuous as your medical marijuana card status against you. The bad news is that you should still proceed with caution if you’re looking for employment and happen to have a valid medical marijuana card.

Keep in mind that federal laws are very different from state laws. Marijuana remains illegal under federal laws. Because of this, employees employed by the federal government must abide by such regulations. In this case, a medical marijuana prescription might show up on your background check if your employer requests it. If they do, this can have legal consequences. 

Make Sure to Research the Law In Your State Before

It’s essential to research the law in your state. Laws can change quickly, so be on the lookout for new regulations and stay up to date on any changes that might affect you. 

Your specific workplace might also have rules about marijuana use and permission to conduct drug testing, so it is best to know their policy before applying. If you still have questions about how medical marijuana will affect your background check, consult a knowledgeable lawyer about this newly emerging area of law and criminal justice.

Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of conflicting information about medical marijuana. Despite having some recognizable medical benefits, 1 in 10 people using marijuana will develop a marijuana use disorder. You ought to consider the consequences vs. benefits of getting a medical marijuana card in your life. Not to mention the impact of using marijuana altogether. 

If you or someone you know is abusing marijuana, consider speaking with an addiction specialist. Leaving marijuana behind is possible. Contact a local rehab center today to learn more about marijuana addiction treatment programs that align with your needs and schedule. Recovery from addiction isn’t impossible, and you can live your life marijuana-free. 


Written by: Nick B.

Nicholas B. is the Corporate Director of Admissions for our substance abuse and behavioral health company. Nick’s mission is to provide quality care to every person that reaches out regarding substance abuse or behavioral health questions. Knowledge of an ever-changing industry, compassion when dealing with people, and compliance in every decision are the forces that drive his personal and professional growth.

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