Nurses Who Legally Use Cannabis Still Face Hefty Consequences

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 19, 2024 | 0 Comments

The legalization of recreational cannabis is gaining momentum across the United States. But while society's acceptance of this drug might be changing, not everyone is on board. 

When it comes to cannabis, nurses have some of the heaviest restrictions in the country. Even where it's legal, recreational marijuana is heavily frowned upon by licensing boards, and doing so can have serious consequences that impact jobs and livelihoods. This disparity has many medical professionals wondering if these restrictions are justifiable—or even necessary—and whether they're legal in the first place. 

If you've had your license revoked for using marijuana, we want to hear from you. Call the Lento Law Firm Team today at 1(888) 535-3686 or contact us online, and let us help defend your right to informed choice.   

Cannabis Can Affect Your License, Even If It's Legal  

As a whole, society's views of cannabis are rapidly changing. Currently, recreational use is legal in 19 states, with 35 allowing it with a physician's recommendation. However, if you're a nurse, taking cannabis can have some serious unintended consequences—even if you live in a legalized state.  

Nurses and other medical professionals must follow a strict code of conduct and ethics to maintain an active license. For many states, this involves abstaining from drug use, including marijuana. Furthermore, most licensing boards support employers' right to enforce workplace policies.  

Even states like Colorado and California still permit employers to enforce their policies about drug use. Hence, if you fail a mandatory workplace drug test—or refuse to take it—your employer may have legitimate grounds to fire you. In some cases, failing a marijuana drug test might even jeopardize your nursing license.  

The Effects of Cannabis vs. Alcohol 

No one would think twice if a nurse drank responsibly while off duty. In fact, drinking is so acceptable in our society that it'd probably raise more eyebrows if they didn't drink, which is strange, considering that cannabis has far fewer health risks than alcohol

Excessive drinking can lead to cancer, heart disease, memory loss, addiction, liver failure, and a host of other health problems, including thinking and cognitive impairments while intoxicated. And that's not even touching on alcohol's role as a gateway drug to other crimes like domestic violence.  

On the other hand, there's cannabis. While its use can cause similar thinking, memory, and addictive impairments as alcohol, it also has a significantly positive application in medicine. Growing research suggests cannabis is an effective remedy for chronic pain, chemotherapy nausea, and insomnia, to name a few, with few side effects.  

This begs the question: why are licensing boards policing cannabis so much harder than alcohol?  

Equal Rights for License Holders Across the Board  

Nursing boards play a crucial role in shaping the regulatory framework for cannabis in the medical community. Licensing requirements need to be clear and consistent and should reflect shifting attitudes toward recreational cannabis and current medical research. These steps will ensure equal rights and opportunities for all nursing professionals, regardless of their off-duty activities.  

If you have questions about how legalizing cannabis could affect your license—and what to do if it does—we want to hear from you. Call the Lento Law Firm Team today at 1(888) 535-3686 or contact us online, and let us help defend your rights.   

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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