California’s Marijuana Laws and Your Professional License     

California is among one of the most progressive states in the U.S. and was one of the first to legally approve recreational marijuana use. Many people assume that since marijuana is legal in the state of California, there are no legal restrictions to its use. However, for licensed professionals, this is not always true, and if you hold a professional license, you could face consequences.

Below we’ll tell you more about how a marijuana charge, or even simply using marijuana, could jeopardize your license. We’ll also let you know when it may be a good idea to consult with a licensing attorney. 

The Legalities of Marijuana Use

California legalized recreational marijuana use in 2016, with marijuana shops legally opening in 2018. Under California law, anyone 21 or older may possess a small amount of cannabis or grow it in or around their home. 

If marijuana use is legal for anyone of a certain age, then how could your professional license be affected for possessing or using it? In part, the answer to this question depends on your employer and your profession.  

Employers are allowed to prohibit marijuana use as part of your employment contract, which means you can be fired from your job if you test positive for marijuana in a drug test. If you are a nurse or a doctor, depending on your employer’s policies, you could lose your license and your job, and you are held to the same standards as alcohol. That is, you cannot work while under the influence. Thus, a drug test that shows you have marijuana in your system at the time of working could be detrimental to your performance, job, and license.

In addition, discipline or scrutiny by a licensing agency is possible under other specific circumstances. For example, your license could be disciplined or cited if your marijuana use is excessive, meaning that it interferes with your work performance or qualifies as abuse. If you get a DUI after using marijuana, your license could again be in trouble. And, if you are arrested for a marijuana-related crime, such as selling to a minor or possessing large quantities, your license could be in jeopardy.

Steps to Take if Your License is in Jeopardy

If you are arrested or convicted of a marijuana-related crime, if your license is under investigation by your licensing board for a marijuana-related offense, or if you are subject to a citation of Accusation, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced licensing attorney. A good lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to help you complete legal paperwork properly, explain your side of the situation effectively, and advise you on what to do to potentially keep your license (sometimes with restrictions).

If you need help from a lawyer after a marijuana-related violation, Scott J Harris has helped many California professionals and may be able to help you, too. During a free consultation, he will explain your rights, listen to the specifics of your case, and tell you more about the best options for moving forward. Contact us today to get started on your case.

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This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.