Medical Cannabis Employees in California Required to Be Patients Themselves

If one goes to a local pharmacy and applied for a job as a technician, there is obviously no requirement that the prospective employee personally take any of the drugs with which he or she will be working. It would be rather ridiculous to think that someone who dispenses Vicodin for example would have to be a user of that particular drug.

pills-out-of-bottle-1394618-m.jpgHowever, according to a recent news feature from the San Francisco Chronicle, that is exactly the requirement for those who work at a medical marijuana dispensary. While California is seen as progressive in many ways pertaining to medial marijuana legalization, as it was the first state to enact medical marijuana legislation, it seems that these regulations may in some ways still be trapped in the past.

Under the still current law, in order to work in a medical cannabis dispensary, an employee must be a medical marijuana patient. This means that prospective employee must go to a doctor and describe medical issues that will entitle that person to a medical marijuana recommendation letter from the healthcare provider. While this may seem like a trivial issue since most people who work in industry fully support medical marijuana, we are not only talking about employees who work at the counter. One dispensary owners said he does not necessarily want it to be a requirement that his bookkeeper also be a medical marijuana user. This is not to say that z medical marijuana patient cannot also be a good accountant, but it does make it more difficult to hire the best person for the job when the application requires the person to check that they are a user of medical marijuana.

Going to back to the traditional pharmacy, it would seem crazy to say that all applicants must be on prescription medication in order to apply. It would also see that it would be an invasion of privacy. It would also seem like a possible violation of federal healthcare regulations, but since the entire industry is illegal under federal law, this is not a major concern.

This is not say there was never a good reason for this requirement. When medical marijuana was first legalized in 1996 in California, there was a real fear that the federal government would crack down on the industry and put people in jail. This did happen on a regular basis in the early days so the law made medical marijuana about patients helping patients. Now that it has evolved into a billion-dollar industry and the federal government has largely decided to leave the states alone in terms of medical marijuana enforcement, this old requirement does more harm that help, and many are asking that it be changed to keep up with modern times.

While this law may not be changing anytime soon, the medical cannabis laws in Orange County are in a constant state of flux and you should speak with an experienced attorney to make sure you are staying up to date and keeping your company and yourself out any trouble to the greatest extent possible.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Why medical marijuana employees need a doctor’s note to work, April 8, 2016, SF Chronical, By Victoria Colliver

More Blog Entries:
California to Earn Huge Income from Taxes Should Legalized Marijuana Pass, Jan. 18, 2016, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog