Employment and Marijuana in Texas: Know Your Rights

Employment and Marijuana in Texas

In the vast landscape of marijuana laws across the United States, Texas stands as a unique and complex entity. Texas is changing its views on legalizing recreational marijuana use, so it’s crucial to know how using cannabis can affect employment. Texans must know the regulations that coincide with their workplace rights and responsibilities.

We look at the laws in Texas regarding marijuana use at work when someone tests positive for it. We also explore what protections exist for medical marijuana patients, and how to handle workplace legal actions. By arming our readers with knowledge, we empower them to make informed decisions.

Marijuana Laws in Texas

Amid the shifting tide of marijuana legislation in the United States, Texas retains its view on the use of the plant. The Texas Penal Code classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that the state laws and federal laws place cannabis plants and cannabis products alongside drugs like heroin and meth. Generally, both the state and the federal government still imposes strict penalties for its possession, sale, or distribution.

While a few states have embraced full-scale marijuana legalization, Texas maintains its stance, viewing non-medical use of marijuana illegal.

Medical marijuana, however, has found a narrow path within Texas’s legal framework through the Compassionate Use Program. Under this program, qualified patients with specific medical conditions can access low-THC cannabis oil. Yet, even within the confines of this medical program, a cloud of confusion exists regarding the workplace rights of registered patients. How employers may respond to medical marijuana use by their employees is also not clearly detailed.

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug testing at work in Texas is important for employers to keep the workplace safe and drug-free. Texas Labor Code Section 411.083 regulates it. Employers use drug tests to detect marijuana and other drugs in an employee’s body. These tests include urine, blood, and hair tests.

If the work drug test detects marijuana in your system, you may face serious consequences. The Texas Labor Code Section 411.083 outlines these consequences. These repercussions may include disciplinary actions, up to and including termination. As an employee, you have certain obligations and disclosure responsibilities.

It is important to remember that conducting tests improperly can lead to legal challenges. These challenges are significant because they help safeguard your rights and reputation.

Legal Penalties for Marijuana Possession in the Workplace

If authorities catch a Texas employee with marijuana in the workplace, they may charge them with various offenses and impose penalties. Here’s an overview of potential legal consequences:

  • Misdemeanor Possession

Possessing one ounce of marijuana in the workplace can lead to misdemeanor charges. If convicted, the individual may face up to 180 days in jail. The court can also order them to face fines of up to $2,000, as per Texas Penal Code Section 481.121.

  • Felony Possession

Possessing larger quantities of marijuana can result in felony charges. For instance, possession of more than four ounces but less than five pounds is a state jail felony. It can carry a potential jail time of 180 days to 2 years and fines up to $10,000.

Moreover, possession of five pounds or more can lead to third-degree felony charges. It has penalties of 2 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000 (Texas Penal Code Section 481.121).

Understanding these charges and penalties is essential for individuals facing such situations. Seeking legal advice is strongly recommended to navigate the complexities of Texas marijuana laws and ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent.

Legal Exemptions Through the Compassionate Use Program

The Compassionate Use Program (CUP) provides a unique legal framework for the use of marijuana in Texas. This program allows for the medical use of low-THC cannabis oil by patients with specific medical conditions like chronic pain. While Texas maintains strict regulations regarding marijuana, CUP offers a legal exemption for registered patients who meet the program’s criteria.

Under the Compassionate Use Program (CUP) in Texas, patients with specific medical conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or terminal cancer can participate. This can also apply to patients dealing with cancer chemotherapy side effects. To qualify, they need a recommendation from a registered physician with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The CUP allows patients to use low-THC cannabis oil, which lacks the psychoactive effects of THC, making it a therapeutic option. Registered CUP patients receive legal protection against employment discrimination, although this protection may not apply to safety-sensitive positions. Collaboration between patients and employers is vital to establish appropriate workplace rights for medical marijuana use.

Understanding the legal exemptions provided by the Compassionate Use Program is essential for registered patients in Texas. These exemptions offer a pathway for accessing the potential benefits of medical marijuana while navigating the state’s stringent legal framework.

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