Do you live in a state with a medical marijuana program? Have you and your doctor determined that a cannabis prescription would be beneficial to your specific needs? If so, fantastic! But what about the people in your life who might not be so accepting of your medication, namely your boss? If you’re struggling to talk to your boss about your use of medical marijuana, try following the steps of REEFER:
Research laws regarding off-site medical marijuana use in your state
It seems that cannabis laws are always changing and evolving. While still federally illegal, many states are changing their laws and regulations regarding both medicinal and recreational use. Of course, this leads to the predicament of drug testing in the workplace.
Countless jobs still require that you pass a drug test prior to being hired, regardless of your state’s cannabis laws– even those expressly related to the use of medical marijuana. And even though there have been lawsuits fighting the termination of employees who are cannabis patients, there are still no federal laws protecting you from this type of workplace discrimination.
But fear not: there is hope. Where federal protections fail, state laws prevail. If you are a medical marijuana patient in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arizona, Delaware, New York, and Minnesota, the law may be on your side. So do some research!
Explain your needs
Honesty is often the best policy. While your medical records and needs are private, sometimes it’s a good thing to be upfront with your boss, especially since medical cannabis is still a controversial subject. Luckily, when you’re prescribed cannabis, it’s because a doctor has determined that you would benefit from it. Who feels qualified to argue with a doctor about someone else’s health?
Emphasize your work ethic
We know that the negative stereotype of the lazy stoner is false. We also know that cannabis can actually boost your creativity and support better sleep habits, which leads to being more productive. Let’s be real: there’s nothing an employer loves more than a productive employee. If and when you talk to your boss about using medical marijuana, be sure to have your work ethic back you up.
Feel out the situation
Are you a new employee? Don’t have a good read on your boss’ feelings toward marijuana yet? Take some time and do some investigating. Look on their social media accounts and see the kinds of posts they make and the pages they like. Pay attention to other clues, like the music they like, the artists they admire, and the TV shows they tune in to. If you’re still having trouble gauging your boss’ politics, just ask your coworkers! Chances are, they’ll have a solid answer.
Encourage open communication
The relationship between an employee and their boss is just that: a relationship. As in all relationships, a foundation of trust, respect, and open communication is paramount. If your boss isn’t familiar with the myriad health and wellness benefits of marijuana, educate them! If they’re particularly receptive, they may even consider joining the ranks of employers who encourage their staff to toke on the clock!
Remember to manage your own expectations
Unfortunately, due to the stigma of marijuana use, your boss might not be so crazy about an employee with a Rx for weed. If you find that your boss is keen on the green, great! If not, proceed with caution and, most importantly, discretion. Losing your job due to a positive drug test is all too common and so far, there isn’t precedent for legal recourse.