Does a Medical Marijuana Card Show Up On a Background Check

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the use of medical marijuana. Many states across the country have acknowledged its benefits. However, there is still some uncertainty and confusion surrounding how medical marijuana cards are treated during background checks. This article aims to provide clarity on whether or not a medical marijuana card appears on a background check.

Understanding Medical Marijuana Cards

Before we dive into the question of whether a medical marijuana card shows up on a background check, let’s first establish what a medical marijuana card is. In states where medical marijuana is legal, individuals who require cannabis for medical purposes must apply for a medical marijuana card. This card serves as documentation that they have received approval from either an authorized healthcare professional or a state program to use cannabis medicinally.

Explaining Background Checks

Background checks play a role in several official processes today, such as employment screenings, rental applications, and firearm purchases. They involve thoroughly examining an individual’s records and history to determine if they meet the relevant criteria or have any criminal records.

Inclusion of Medical Marijuana Cards in Background Checks

To put it simply — no, medical marijuana cards themselves do not appear on background checks. When employers or other parties conduct background checks in states where medical marijuana is legal, they usually review records, employment history, educational verification, and other relevant factors, such as driving records.

The use of marijuana is protected by confidentiality laws. In states with cannabis programs, there are strict regulations in place to safeguard patient privacy. It could be illegal to disclose someone’s status as a medical marijuana patient without their consent. However, it’s important to note that federal laws still consider cannabis illegal under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Employers who receive federal funding or operate across state lines may still have drug testing policies regardless of an employee having a medical marijuana card.

Exceptions for Specific Professions

While medical marijuana cards generally do not show up on background checks, there might be exceptions for professions that require drug testing. These professions include childcare, law enforcement, transportation, and safety-sensitive positions. Employers in these fields have a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those they serve and often have specific policies regarding drug use. Remember that employment rights laws can vary from state to state. Different states have different approaches to protecting medical marijuana users. Hence, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney or familiarize yourself with the laws in your state.

Opting Out of Disclosure

When it comes to revealing your medical marijuana card status, some people may choose to do so for personal or workplace reasons. However, it’s important to be cautious and aware of consequences such as stigma or judgment from others.

Workplace Drug Testing and Medical Marijuana

In states where medical marijuana is legal, there may be questions about how it intersects with drug testing. While a medical marijuana card itself usually doesn’t appear on background checks, employers may still have drug testing policies that include screening for use. This is particularly common for roles involving safety tasks or those subject to regulations. Understanding your employer’s drug testing policies is crucial. Some employers may have guidelines or exceptions when it comes to detecting cannabis in an employee’s system if they hold a medical marijuana card. Others may strictly enforce zero-tolerance policies regardless of an individual’s medicinal use status. It can be beneficial for individuals to conduct research on an employer’s policies regarding drug testing or consult with an employment law attorney to gain an understanding of their rights and responsibilities.


Even though a medical marijuana card is not typically included in background checks, it is important for individuals to stay aware of the laws in their state and the drug testing policies within their profession. It is crucial to know one’s rights as a medical marijuana user while also considering any adverse consequences that may arise from disclosing this information. By making an informed decision, individuals can ensure privacy and open communication when appropriate.