During the background check process, but more specifically the drug test, it was determined that the client’s applicant had tested positive for marijuana. Once re-confirmed by the medical review officer, the applicant was notified of his positive test. Upon notification of the drug test results, the applicant stated that he had an Arizona Medical Marijuana Identification card. However, when asked for a copy of the front and back of this ID card, he produced a copy of an “application” that is required by the State of Arizona Department of Health Services to determine his eligibility for being issued an Arizona Qualifying Patient Registry ID card.

Client’s employment legal counsel asked trustHR | GObackgrounds to determine the status of the applicant’s “application” along with any concomitant legal research of Arizona’s medical marijuana laws.

The below represents a Workplace Investigation of the fact pattern presented by a client. Consequently, the following should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion.

  1. Applicant acquired his Arizona Medical Marijuana Physician Certification and “applied” for his Arizona Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient Registry ID card four (4) days before taking his drug test.
  2. It was determined by the Arizona Department of Health Services that in order to legally use marijuana in the State of Arizona one must have the Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient Registry ID card in his/her possession. The applicant did not receive his ID card until eight (8) days after his drug test and twelve days (12) after his application. Consequently, the applicant did not have his ID card on his person at the time he used marijuana.
  3. The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (2010) and the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) provides:

          Unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or impose any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based on either; (1) The person’s status as a cardholder; or (2) A registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2813 (2011).

Client’s employment counsel consulted with Arizona legal counsel and determined that because the applicant did not have possession of his Medical Marijuana Qualifying Patient Registry ID card at the time of his drug test, they were under no obligation to hire him, thus obviating any foreseeable charge of discrimination.