Medical marijuana is legal in Florida. Due to federal prohibition, the law provides zero protection to patients in Florida and all U.S. states. New legislation in the sunshine state may fix this problem for many residents with legal use recommendations and cards.
Why Do Medical Cannabis Patients Need Employment Protections?
In 2016, Florida approved legal marijuana sales for patients meeting specific criteria. Since then, more than 300,000 residents have received their medical marijuana cards from the state. The simple identification allows Floridians to purchase and use certain cannabis products to treat medical conditions.
The law did not include any protections for employees undergoing drug screenings. In fact, it specifically states that the legislation doesn’t change drug-free workplace programs and policies. Although it’s most likely necessary to stay in line with federal guidelines, it’s harmful to patients.
Overall, the situation has created a massive problem for patients that have to choose between safe, effective, all-natural pain relief and gainful employment. Employees that test positive for legal THC can still be fired from their jobs. Not only are they out of work, but they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, either.
What is the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act?
Legislatures know this is a significant setback for medical cannabis patients and their rights to legal health care solutions and gainful employment in Florida. Congressional members drafted the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act. The legislation prohibits employers from firing employees for legal medicinal use when they have a valid medical marijuana card issued by the state.
So far, the measure hasn’t been voted on by House members on both occasions it was introduced. Medical cannabis advocates are still pushing to pass the bill during the 2021 congressional sessions. However, even after passage, it won’t protect all employees.
But it will provide more protection than patients have previously held in the state. An adjoining bill, Medical Marijuana Employee Protection, requires employers to notify employees of failed tests and give them the time to respond with adequate proof of legal medicinal use.
Does the Law Protect All Employees?
As mentioned above, the law won’t cover all employees. It doesn’t offer protection for federal jobs or federally funded employment. Plus, it goes further. The law needs to be specific to the employee’s line of work. Employees with jobs involving these conditions aren’t covered under the pending legislation.
- Handling, packaging, processing, storing, disposing, or transporting hazardous materials
- Operating any motorized vehicles or other equipment
- Using power tools
- Maintaining, operating, or oversight of critical services, such as electric, gas, water, and power generation and distribution
- Extracting, compressing, processing, manufacturing, handling, packaging, storing, disposing of, treating, or transporting any volatile, flammable, or combustible materials, elements, chemicals, or other regulated components
- Manufacturing and dispensing pharmaceuticals
- Carrying a firearm
- Direct child care
- Direct patient care
This list could grow when the law passes.
Protect your job and finances and only use legal medical cannabis. Contact us today to schedule your medical exam and treatment recommendation from Compassionate Healthcare of Florida. We can help you get the all-natural medicine necessary to improve your quality of life.