People use marijuana for different reasons ranging from recreational to medical. Thus, it is becoming customary for marijuana users to take a home drug test periodically. Besides, the medical use of marijuana has even given people more ground to use marijuana despite using it recreationally. After all, about 33 states in the USA have legalized the use of marijuana for treating certain medical conditions. In addition, about 10 states forbid employers from discriminating against employees who are qualified medical marijuana patients.
Is it legal to demand to pass a drug test like the mouth swab drug test in 2022? In the USA, federal and state laws mandate employees to submit to drug testing, especially those employed to protect lives and properties. These people include law enforcement officers and people working in the health sector.
Private employers are also given the liberty to demand drug testing periodically to maintain health, safety, and productivity and stop illegal drug activities in the workplace. Nevertheless, state and locality laws also forbid the breach of employee privacy. Therefore, an employer can demand a drug test from his employees or potential employees, provided it is for reasons that are allowed under the law and that employee privacy is protected.
What if an employee was mandated by his employer to take a drug test, like the saliva drug test? An indictment looms, primarily if he tests positive for using marijuana. However, he can easily claim he has a medical marijuana card. What if he genuinely presents a medical marijuana card? The employer in question must know the best action to take and the requirements of authorizing medical marijuana in the USA.
Below, you will discover everything you need to know about how to verify a marijuana authorization form and who is supposed to verify medical marijuana authorization in the USA between a Medical Review Officer (MRO) and an employer.
When is a positive drug test not a problem in the USA?
Marijuana patients in certain parts of the USA need not worry about how to pass a drug test or how to pass a hair follicle drug test. These patients do not need to bother themselves because the laws guiding the use of marijuana differ from state to state. For instance, some states allow the medical use of marijuana while others even allow recreational use. Thus, a marijuana patient can escape punishment if tests confirm that he uses marijuana in some states.
Furthermore, employees suffering from certain terminal or debilitating medical conditions may qualify to be placed on marijuana treatment if they meet specific requirements under the confines of the regulations of the state they live or work in, according to Family Medicine for America’s Health. Listed below are the medical conditions that may qualify an employee for marijuana treatment under their healthcare practitioner’s care.
- Severe and chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Seizure disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment
If an employee is interested in knowing if he has THC from marijuana use in his bloodstream, he may be found googling for “drug testing near me” or “at-home drug test.” However, medical marijuana patients would be interested in getting answers to questions like “who have authorization to prescribe medical cannabis?” and “where can I buy marijuana with authorization?” Thus, they may be found googling “medical marijuana authorization near me” or “LabCorp near me” to get the best options available and avoid indictment at work.
It is also worth knowing that states like Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Washington, D.C., California, Massachusetts, and Nevada are lenient with marijuana use. Moreover, these states do not deny marijuana use and approach marijuana as a means of achieving social justice and generating wealth and, thus, address marijuana prohibition by expunging low-level convictions. Consequently, these states can reduce the number of individuals from minority communities that have suffered imprisonment because of strict marijuana laws.
Who is a Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
Suppose you also want to confirm the accuracy and legitimacy of a test result that an employee or potential employee provides. An MRO is your go-to. Likewise, if an employee is interested in finding answers to a question like “does urine hold DNA?” he can consult an MRO even for clarification regarding a drug test or positive test result.
An MRO is a licensed physician saddled with the responsibility of reviewing positive drug tests and examining the possible medical explanation for the positive result. Furthermore, an MRO determines the accuracy and legitimacy of test results while keeping the information of employees confidential. Thus, it would be best for an employer to consult an MRO if he wants to ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of drug test results and reduce the legal liability of his company.
In the USA, employers can choose an MRO to review the results of drug tests taken by their employees, depending on the laws of the state the companies are sited. However, the Department of Transportation (DOT) employs an MRO to review the drug tests of all employees working in safety-sensitive work environments.
What is DOT?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a federal body and is well-known for its zero-tolerance drug use policy and its employees’ periodic drug testing. Thus, you cannot afford to be a user of marijuana while working for DOT, not even while off-duty, because it can lead to immediate termination of an appointment. The drug tests conducted by DOT usually screen for the drugs listed below.
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Opiates (opium and codeine derivatives)
Rules and Regulations
The rules for an employee working under the Department of Transportation (DOT) are a bit strict because DOT considers marijuana an illegal drug. Therefore, DOT rejects the authorization of medical marijuana as a valid reason to test positive for marijuana use. In addition, if the DOT or any other organization wants to test their employees, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) with a federal license conducts the tests and reviews the results of those who test positive.
Suppose an employee tests positive. The MRO reaches out to the employee to discuss the positive test result and asks for the employee’s medical marijuana card to support the positive test result. However, MROs are now reconsidering their stance because of the increasing number of apparent positive test results. Similarly, employers in the DOT are strongly advised to check with their Third-Party Service Associate before rejecting state-issued medical marijuana cards or authorization.
What is the authorization process?
An employer interested in drug testing his employees must consider an employee’s position, job nature, and the state of the company or organization because some states in the USA only allow the random screening. In contrast, some others permit universal testing, and some others allow drug testing if an employee is suspected of drug use or in the occurrence of an accident. Therefore, employers must undergo an authorization process to avoid infringing on employees’ rights and ensure that drug testing is lawful.
That said, employees are not expected to refuse a drug test if their employees demand it, and employers must not force drug tests on employees. Employers should instead inform employees of a drug test in advance to allow them to consent and prepare for the test. However, if an employee presents a medical marijuana authorization form or medical marijuana card, the employer must proceed to verify its authenticity. In addition, an employer may also go ahead to find answers to the question: how does a caregiver get medical cannabis authorization?
Who is more protected by Law: boss or worker?
The simple answer is that the law protects no one because employees and employers can be held responsible for guilt. For instance, suppose an employee was fired for refusing to take a drug test. An employer can do so under the law, provided that he can prove that the employee poses a safety hazard on the job.
Conversely, an employee can get back his job if he can prove that his employer treated him differently from other employees with similar roles. Thus, any employee who is unjustly fired or suspended on account of a drug test can make a case that the employers or testers did not follow due process.
What can cause false-positive drug tests?
An employee with a false positive drug test result must have had a substance similar to the target substance in his body, which responded to the test the same way the target substance would. The causes of false positive test results are listed below.
- Pain killers
- Cold remedies
- Diabetes medication
- Sleeping medication
- Nasal decongestants
How to prove a false-positive test wrong
Suppose an employee tests positive. Such an employee can go for a confirmatory test using a different, more precise and sensitive method, such as High-performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) or Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). With either of these tests, an employer can be sure if the employee has the target substances in his body.
The importance of an MRO in verifying medical marijuana authorization cannot be overemphasized. An MRO’s job is to confirm medical marijuana authorization, and employers can only collaborate with them for accurate drug testing and result interpretation. Furthermore, federal laws do not allow employees to consume marijuana for whatever reason, especially those working in safety-sensitive environments. Thus, only state and local laws allow medical marijuana authorization in the USA.