Does My Medical Marijuana Card Show Up On a Background Check?

article by Maria Perinic
June 17, 2020
Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly accepted as a form of treatment for a variety of conditions. Doctors around the United States are prescribing it for the management and treatment of serious illness, chronic pain, and other conditions.

For a lot of people even using marijuana for medicinal purposes carries a certain stigma. Some are quick to presume that medical marijuana patients are substance abusers looking for a way to legally uphold their addiction. this is why some individuals struggle to apply for a medical marijuana permit in the first place.

Employers can also frequently run background checks on applicants, deciding whether or not to hire someone on the basis of red flags that may show up on their background check.

Does medical marijuana show up on a background check? Does a medical card go on your record? What are the consequences of getting a medical card? What are the medical marijuana rules you should be aware of? Read on to answer any concerns about medical marijuana laws around the country.

What is a Medical Marijuana Card?

A medical marijuana card or permit is also known as a cannabis card or an MMID. This identification card is issued to individuals that have qualifying conditions allowing them to buy marijuana from medical dispensaries and treat their health ailments. Sometimes it also means that the person with the medical marijuana permit is able to grow marijuana in their home or use medical marijuana delivery services.

In the US, medical marijuana has only been legalized in some states. Only those patients that have a signed recommendation from a licensed physician qualify for the card and the patient’s medical condition also needs to be approved by the state. Medical marijuana laws differ from state to state. If you want to know more about medical marijuana rules you can find out medical marijuana laws by state here.

Does Medical Marijuana Show Up on a Background Check?

Does a medical card go on your record? When it comes to your records, a medical marijuana card will not come up on a background check.  This is because your card is issued due to your doctor’s medical suggestion. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), this information must be kept completely confidential and protected.

This shouldn’t be a worry because any access to your medical record will be denied for anyone who requests it. Authorities including doctors are not permitted to hand over your medical data to anyone.

Most people are uncomfortable when it comes to revealing any medical conditions they might have. With this in mind, HIPPA was introduced so that a patient’s privacy could be safeguarded and also to avoid any healthcare information being disclosed either accidentally or deliberately.

When it comes to medical marijuana cards, restrictions are quite severe. This means that any third party cannot access your medical records, find out about any medical conditions or the use of medical marijuana. The only way that third parties are able to access this information is if they have been granted permission.

Under the HIPPA regulations, only when someone has been granted explicit permission to check this type of data are they able to do so. an example of this is if a patient decides to share their medical information for the purpose of medical research.

Can My Medical Marijuana Card Affect My Employment?

Although it is legal to use marijuana for medical purposes in a lot of states across the US, only a few have medical marijuana laws in place preventing employers from firing their employees for the use of medical marijuana.

woman in Oklahoma was terminated from her position because she had THC in her system.

Lawyer, Michel French states:

“The fact that you have happened to have legal permission to use it for health reasons doesn’t mean your employer has to accept that.”

Additionally, he also suggests that you should get the “okay” regarding your medical marijuana card in writing.

Some will suggest that you run a background check on yourself to find out what comes up, however, you should also remember that a background check isn’t the only way that your employer is able to find out about your medical marijuana use.

BeenVerified and Truthfinder are some of the best background checks available offline, able to scour public records including a range of things from your contact information, as well as any criminal offenses linked to your name. Checks from either of these companies come up with information found on your social media accounts as well.

Make sure that your private use of medical marijuana stays private. This means that you should refrain from posting any comments or images on social media platforms regarding your medical marijuana use. You never know if your boss or other co-workers are able to see these images.

Another tip is never to collect your medical marijuana from a dispensary near your workplace. The chances of someone from the office seeing you enter are greatly reduced when you’re on the other side of town.

The one thing you cannot avoid is random drug testing at your workplace. Unfortunately, if you fail to pass that drug test you are at risk of being fired. This is because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even if your medical marijuana is being used for medicinal purposes and has been green-lighted by the state.

What are the Consequences of Having a Medical Marijuana Card?

There are a number of downsides and consequences when it comes to having a medical marijuana card.

In most cases, in order to even apply for a card, you will need to be examined by a physician and will also need to have a qualifying medical condition that falls under your state’s laws. Your doctor will need to sign a form that states that you will benefit from medical marijuana use, and some doctors aren’t willing to do this, which means that even finding a doctor that will be a challenge.

Your medical marijuana card is only for a year. This means that you will be paying anywhere from $20 to $200 to renew your card on a yearly basis. This can be quite annoying and costly. Additionally, if you miss the renewal date of your medical marijuana card you will need to go through the application process from the beginning.

Failure to renew your medical marijuana permit means that you will have no legal protection should you be caught in possession of marijuana. Another consequence of not renewing your card is that you will not be able to pick up any marijuana from a dispensary.

Applying for jobs can be one of the biggest issues when you have a medical marijuana card. Whilst employers are not able to get access to your medical files to uncover whether you are holding a medical marijuana card, there is absolutely nothing stopping them from asking staff to take a random drug test.

This applies to pre-employment as well as to those that are already employed. If marijuana is found in your system after a pre-employment test, it is most likely that you will not be hired for the position. Alternatively, if any drug tests are taken after the hiring process, it may lead to the termination of your new role.

While medical marijuana cards will not show up on a background check, if you are pulled over when driving and receive a DUI, it will become available on public record meaning this information is available to anyone.

Ultimately if your employer finds out that you have a medical marijuana card, what happens next is virtually up to them depending on which state you reside in. According to medical marijuana laws in California, employers are able to terminate employees that consume medical marijuana. On the other hand, in Michigan, it is not permitted for an employer to discriminate against their employees.

All in all, you’re best to keep discreet regarding the possession of your medical marijuana permit.

Doctors are sometimes reluctant to prescribe medical marijuana to patients as they are under strict scrutiny from the government. According to the AMA Journal of Ethics,

“One last objection that physicians in some states have with medicinal marijuana is the lack of regulation regarding clinical training on the medical and legal aspects of the new laws. Massachusetts was the first state to require that physicians take a two-hour course before they could recommend medicinal marijuana to their patients. Doctors generally prescribe only drugs that have been rigorously tested, their clinical results reported in published articles, and information about indications for their use, the mechanisms by which they achieve results, and their expected side effects available in package inserts or the Physicians’ Desk Reference. None of these resources for information about the efficacy, dosing, or regulations that come from FDA-approved drugs are available for medical marijuana.”

If any medical physician approves medical marijuana cards or over prescribes to those patients that don’t need it, they can be stripped of their medical license. Consequently, it will render your medical marijuana card null and void.

Another consequence of having a medical marijuana card is that you will lose your Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment allows adults the right to possess guns and ammunition.

However, if your use of marijuana is known to the public, whether by registration to a medical marijuana registry or even via social media, you are automatically prohibited from possessing guns and ammunition by federal law.

Traveling freely between states might be one of the benefits of living in the United States, but the same cannot be said for those that own a medical marijuana card. This is because only a few states such as Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Maine allow and recognize out of state medical marijuana cards.

Even if you weren’t planning on possessing any marijuana, you still cannot travel to states including Idaho, South Dakota, New Jersey, or Wyoming. This is because some of these states criminalize being under the influence of a controlled substance whilst in public. While you maybe haven’t used marijuana in the past two weeks, there can still be traces found within your system, deeming you “under the influence.”

Custody circumstances are also dependent on which state you live in when it comes to using medical marijuana, so it’s best to make sure you won’t have legal repercussions.

“Before acquiring the authorization from a correctional facility supervisor to use medical marijuana, it is crucial to contact a lawyer to determine if it is possible based on the state and circumstances. However, the person must apply for a state medical marijuana identification card. To entice the supervisor, the inmate may need to stress how his or her usage would not affect or harm other convicted criminals. Edible or drinkable alternatives may become the best options in these situations. While it is possible the supervising official will permit the usage, many decline based on numerous factors.”


While it’s not possible for your medical marijuana card to show up on a background check, you should be discreet in using it. Employers are unable to find out via this channel that you own a medical marijuana card, however, they do have the right to pre-employment drug testing and can also conduct random drug tests on their employees at will.

If there is any marijuana found in your system it is likely that you will not be hired for the position you were after. This is just one of the consequences of having a medical marijuana permit. Others include losing the right to bear arms according to the second amendment as well as the restrictions placed upon you when traveling from one state to another.

If you wish to make use of a medical marijuana card, you should find out the laws concerning the state where you reside. When it comes to employment, make sure to have written approval for your medical marijuana card regarding the ability to retain your position.