Medical Marijuana Law in Arizona

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 17 states, including Arizona. Arizona’s Proposition 203 allows individuals with the following debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana to treat symptoms of their diseases: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, cachexia, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and muscle spasms.

Medical Marijuana and Employment

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Arizona law holds that employers must “reasonably accommodate” individuals with disabilities. Employers must work to accommodate what the employee needs to be able to perform their job duties. However, since medical marijuana is illegal under Federal law, the use of medical marijuana is not covered under the law. Medical marijuana is ‘recommended’ and not prescribed by a physician; therefore, your employer can terminate you if you fail a drug test due to medical marijuana being in your system.

In Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, llc., the California Supreme Court ruled that employees can be terminated for having medical marijuana in their systems while at work and employers cannot be held liable for doing so under the State’s current employment discrimination laws. If your employer requests that you take a drug test and you fail that test due to medical marijuana. you may be terminated by the employer regardless of your possession of a state medical marijuana card.

Medical Marijuana and Housing

If you reside in a single family home and use medical marijuana, you are allowed to use medical marijuana in your home and on your property. If your neighbors object to your use of medical marijuana and call the police, make certain that you have a valid medical marijuana card in your possession. If you reside in multi-family housing, you must abide by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) requirements. Although these requirements call for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, they also dictate that no illegal substances can be used in subsidized housing. Thus, your landlord may ask you to move from your apartment if you use medical marijuana at home. Ask any perspective landlord for a statement in writing that your use of medical marijuana within your apartment is permitted. Keep a copy of your medical marijuana card on your person at all times. If you live in your own home and are authorized to use medical marijuana you should be fine. If you live in an apartment you must verify with your landlord that your use of medical marijuana is permitted within your apartment. If you live in subsidized (Section 8) housing, you can and most likely will be evicted.

Medical Marijuana and Driving

Driving while impaired is illegal and the penalties are severe. You should not drive under the influence of medical marijuana. Always carry your medical marijuana card with you and no more than a ‘reasonable’ amount of medical marijuana. If you are detained by law enforcement ask if you are free to leave. Make no incriminating statements and ask to speak with an attorney if you are placed under arrest. The information contained in this brochure is not meant to be legal advice. You should seek legal counsel regarding your concerns about your medical marijuana card and its impact upon your employment and housing.