• Jennifer Betz

What Adult Use Legalization in Virginia Means for Your Job


how recent VA legislation affects your workplace rights when you have a marijuana card

2021 has been a big year for cannabis laws in Virginia. Learn how the changes affect your job.


Virginia has been blazing a trail for states in the South to begin relaxing their cannabis policies, but that does not mean that everyone is fully on board yet. It might be legal to possess and use recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth, but the only way to have any workplace protection when it comes to using THC is to get a Virginia marijuana card.


It’s Legal to Possess and Use Recreational Marijuana in Virginia, but You Can Still Get Fired for a Failed Drug Test

Virginia is an at-will employment state, which means that your employer can fire you at any time, for any reason, without explanation or warning (as long as it doesn’t violate Federal discrimination laws). So your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason, although this does not apply if you have a contract.


Drug-Free Workplace Policies

In order to ensure a safe work environment, employers can and should enforce a drug-free workplace policy in which workers can get fired for on-the-job impairment. You wouldn’t come to work drunk, so you should not come to work high. Most Virginia employers intend to continue to enforce these policies.


Off-the-Clock Marijuana Use

Some employers will be relaxing their drug screening policies in order to make room for employees who choose to use marijuana off the clock. Others, however, will not. Your employer has the discretion to perform drug screenings if they so desire, and they can still fire you for showing THC in your system.


But the labor market is tight, and it may be challenging to find and retain workers without a more relaxed drug use policy. As a result, some employers may end up revising their off-the-clock drug policies at a later date.


Having a Virginia Marijuana Card May Protect Your Job

In Spring 2021, Governor Northam signed a bill into law that protects most employees from having adverse action taken against them for simply taking their medicine. If you’re concerned about whether your employer will fire you for using cannabis while off the clock, getting a Virginia marijuana card may provide a level of protection. Patients with a qualifying condition can get a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana that can be legally purchased at Virginia dispensaries.


There are several exceptions to this law, most notably if you are in the safety or transportation sectors, you have professional licensing that requires a clean drug test, or if you are a Federal contractor.


You also cannot be impaired at work.


It’s Unclear How the ADA Will Come into Play With Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Some attorneys argue that the ADA mandates employers to investigate potential reasonable accommodations for employees who may need medical marijuana while on the clock. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a Federal law, and marijuana is still Federally illegal. Entirely. No exceptions.


This issue has yet to play out in courts, and it is unclear how judges will handle the discrepancy between state and federal laws.


Despite Uncertainty, Having a Marijuana Card Offers the Most Legal Protection

When you have a Virginia marijuana card, you can get legal access to dispensaries offering a wide variety of products, including vape pens and cartridges, edibles, topicals, tinctures and more. Flower is projected to make it to dispensary shelves by September 2021, and dispensaries will even deliver cannabis products right to your door.


Best of all, a medical marijuana card protects you from adverse action being taken against you by your employer due to a positive drug screen in most cases. So you can get the natural relief you deserve without going through that quarterly cleanse.


Make an Appointment With Virginia Marijuana Card Today!

At Virginia Marijuana Card, we are always here to help you through the process of getting registered for medical marijuana. Our highly-trained, compassionate staff can answer all of your questions if you just give us a call at (888) 633-5808.


If you are ready to protect yourself with a marijuana card today, give us a call or click here to schedule an appointment. Our convenient telehealth services make it so you never have to leave the comfort and privacy of your home in order to get started.


Make an appointment today to enjoy the legal protection of a Virginia marijuana card and start your path to better health!




Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.


Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!


Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!


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