Employers and employees both have new challenges when it comes to drug testing. Marijuana laws have changed drastically over the last few years. Now twenty-four states plus D.C. have legalized medical marijuana. Another four states plus D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. These laws are welcomed by many but make routine drug testing of employees more complicated. You need to know if your legal marijuana use can still get you fired from your job. 

Medical Marijuana

You may believe that having a medical marijuana card will protect you from a positive drug test, but that's not always true. Current law allows most employers to terminate your employment if you test positive for marijuana use, even if you have a legitimate prescription for the substance. In most instances, an employer is still given the right to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding marijuana use off the premises and during non-work hours. Only a few states, such as Minnesota and Arizona, have laws in place that prevent employers from terminating your employment for a positive test when you have a marijuana card. So if you believe that the card protects your job, you are probably mistaken. Before you use medical marijuana, you need to find out what your employer's policy is on its use. 

Recreational Marijuana

Employers in states that allow recreational marijuana use may legally have zero tolerance policies for positive tests, but enforcing that provision may seriously impact retention of their workforce. However, they are still on firm ground when it comes to forbidding marijuana use or possession while on site. Marijuana use is still not permitted by federal law. As a result, employers can fire employees if they light up during breaks or give marijuana to their coworkers. If your employer has clearly stated policies regarding marijuana at work, the courts will uphold their decision to fire you for its possession. You may be able to legally smoke a joint in your living room but not in the parking lot during your lunch break. 

Marijuana use and employment policy is a tricky issue. The law in many states has not caught up to the reality of marijuana use. Although these laws will likely change in the future, you cannot assume that your legal use at home will protect you from a positive drug test required by your employer. You need to research your company's policies toward all types of marijuana use before you assume that your job will be protected. 

For more information about drug testing, talk with companies in your area, like Austin Mobile Drug Testing.