2024 Employment Guide for Medical Cannabis Patients

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By Anthony Pellegrino Updated May 22nd

Medical cannabis is legal in 38 states, and public support for the medicinal use of the herb is overwhelming among the American people. Still, many medical cannabis patients find themselves in a difficult position when looking for a job. 

Not every state with a medical cannabis program has employment protections for its patients. And many employers still discriminate against medical cannabis users, even though wouldn’t exclude applicants for any other doctor-prescribed drug. And just like other prescription medications, most medical cannabis patients can’t simply stop using their medication to pass an employment drug test.

Fortunately, options still abound for medical cannabis patients looking for a career, even if they do need to get a little more creative in their job search. There are plenty of companies and career paths that don’t test for THC. Plus, the recent remote work revolution has opened up even more possibilities.

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How Can You Tell If a Job Drug Tests?

It’s not always easy finding a job that doesn’t drug test. Many job listings don’t make it clear whether an employer tests for cannabis or not. 

So how can you find out if a company is planning on drug testing?

These steps won’t apply all the time, but they provide a good place to start:

  • Check the job listing. Sometimes job listings will explicitly say if they require a drug test and whether or not they test for THC.
  • Ask an employee. If you know someone who works at the company (not the person who would hire you), you can ask if they were tested during the hiring process.
  • Search job websites. Most job websites will let you search terms in the listing. So, if you search for “no drug test” or “cannabis” you might be able to find jobs that won’t test for THC. Likewise, you can search career satisfaction boards like Glassdoor or community forums like Reddit to see if any current or former employees have commented on the company’s drug testing policy.
  • Ask during the interview. This can feel like a risky option, and some hiring managers might dismiss you as an option if they think you are more concerned about cannabis than the position for which you’re applying. However, if cannabis testing is already a dealbreaker for you, it can be worth the risk to get a clear answer.

Asking the interviewer is the most direct and surefire way to know if an employer tests for cannabis. But that can be intimidating, and job interviews are already intimidating enough on their own. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of companies and types of jobs that don’t (or don’t typically) test for cannabis.

Do Medical Cannabis Patients Have Employment Protections?

Medical cannabis laws are different in every state, and some states have taken steps to protect medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. This isn’t true of every state with a medical program, so it’s best to check your state’s current laws to see what protections are afforded where you live.

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11 Companies That Don't Drug Test

The following companies aren’t believed to conduct pre-employment drug tests, at least not for cannabis. Some have come out and openly opposed pre-employment drug screenings. Others tolerate employees using cannabis in their free time (so long as it doesn’t interfere with their work). And some simply don’t believe it makes financial or business sense to conduct pre-employment screenings when hiring.

1. Amazon

  • Average Pay: $15-$20 Hourly;  $30k+ Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.8 Stars

Amazon announced in 2021 that it will no longer be testing for marijuana use for any of its jobs not regulated by the Department of Regulation. There was actually a proposed class action suit against them in New York City claiming that they had been violating the city’s laws by testing workers for marijuana at local facilities. In light of the trend moving toward more states legalizing cannabis and disallowing drug testing for marijuana, Amazon is dropping marijuana testing for all jobs that don’t involve driving, operating heavy machinery or other safety-sensitive tasks.

2. Starbucks

  • Average Pay: $12-18 Hourly
  • Glassdoor Rating:  3.7 Stars

Starbucks is one of the largest companies that doesn’t conduct pre-employment cannabis tests. This is most likely because many of their positions are for baristas which are held by younger people with higher rates of marijuana use, and mandating employees pass a drug test could present hiring difficulties. For this reason, a job at Starbucks could be an attractive option for medical marijuana patients and recreational users. Not to mention the fact that Starbucks offers their employees many perks, including tuition assistance, health coverage, and 401k benefits.

3. Apple Inc.

  • Average Pay: $12-$20 Hourly; $40k-225k+ Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 4.2 Stars

The world-famous tech company, founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, does not drug test new employees. However, the company will conduct drug testing if they deem it necessary (showing up to work under the influence, for example). Testing positive for marijuana or other drugs in such a circumstance could lead to disciplinary actions and potential job loss. Apple Inc. is a serious company that cares about its reputation. Being one of the most valuable and successful tech companies the world has ever seen, they also have the liberty to be picky with their candidates. So, while cannabis-using candidates can receive job offers from the company, there are some limitations new hires should be aware of. 

4. Google 

  • Average Pay: $28k-$250k+ Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 4.5 Stars

Widely considered one of the best companies in the world to work for, Google doesn’t conduct pre-employment drug tests. The culture at Google is colored in a very west coast way, where marijuana is both legal and popular. As a result, Google has a pretty tolerant attitude towards cannabis users within their ranks. Nevertheless, Google’s Code of Conduct is pretty clear in that substance abuse “is incompatible with the health and safety of our employees, and we don’t permit it.” If it becomes evident that your cannabis use is affecting your responsibilities, the company may ask for a drug screening.

5. Twitter

  • Average Pay: $48k-$225k Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.9 Stars

Until late 2022, Twitter was considered by many to be one of the best companies to work for. Many of their employees stated that their work left them feeling satisfied and fulfilled with ample opportunity for improvement and advancement. Historically, Twitter was continuously on the hunt for new talent to join their ranks, so the company eliminated pre-employment drug tests. In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Twitter also announced that their remote work policies were made permanent. This, of course, rendered pre-employment drug testing even more unnecessary for the company.

In the second half of 2022, Elon Musk purchased Twitter and took over as the company’s CEO. Shortly after taking control of the company, Musk issued a round of layoffs, significantly pruning the company’s workforce. Musk has also proposed several drastic changes to the company, leaving the company’s future – and its future drug testing policies – uncertain.

6. Microsoft 

  • Average Pay: $13-$23 Hourly; $35-$180k Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating:  4.4 Stars

Microsoft, like many of its contemporaries, doesn’t drug test new employees. As a matter of fact, there is an old story in which Bill Gates joked that drug-testing employees would mean losing too many of their senior executives. So long as the work is done and marijuana use does not interfere with any work-related duties, Microsoft doesn’t appear to take any issue with what their employees do in their free time.

7. Taco Bell

  • Average Pay: $13-$17 Hourly; $28-$45k Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.4 Stars

Taco Bell is one of the largest fast-food chains that does not engage in drug tests for their new employees. This is not to say that drug tests are never conducted by Taco Bell. If there is reasonable suspicion that someone is intoxicated on the job, or if there is a workplace accident, a test will most likely be required. Like many previously mentioned companies, whether a candidate uses marijuana or not isn’t a big priority for the company. As a worker rises up the ranks into managerial positions, however, a drug screening may be requested.

8. Chipotle

  • Average Pay: $12-$18 Hourly 
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.4 Stars

Chipotle, one of the most popular burrito chains in the US, doesn’t drug test new employees. With tens of thousands of employees at hundreds of locations throughout the country, Chipotle routinely makes the list of best places to work in the food industry. The company treats its employees well, offering healthcare, educational perks, and opportunities for advancement. The generosity they provide to the members of their team is exceptional compared to many of their competitors. Part of this includes excluding drug screenings from their hiring processes.

9. Target

  • Average Pay: $11-$21 Hourly
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.6 Stars

When it comes to retail jobs, Target is one of the largest supermarket chains without pre-employment drug tests. This has not always been the case. But following changes to their drug-testing program only employees entering into safety-sensitive warehouse jobs or the loss prevention department will need to pass a pre-employment drug test. With thousands of retail locations, Target is an option for those cannabis users looking for a job. Not to mention the higher starting pay that the company offers its new employees, and their commitment to promoting team members internally.

10. Planet Fitness

  • Average Pay: $10-$15 Hourly; $40-$49k Salaried
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.4 Stars

Planet Fitness, like some other large fitness brands, doesn’t drug test new employees. If you are a personal trainer or fitness coach that uses medical cannabis, chances are there is a Planet Fitness in your local area. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the duties of personal trainers and fitness coaches are to prevent their clients from injuring themselves during workouts. So, while the company may tolerate cannabis use off the clock, if you are under the influence in the workplace or your conduct leads to an injury, Planet Fitness may mandate a drug test and take disciplinary action.

11. PetSmart

  • Average Pay: $11-$24 Hourly
  • Glassdoor Rating: 3.3 Stars

Another retail giant that excludes drug testing is PetSmart. Unlike other retail companies, PetSmart has many unique positions for animal lovers, such as groomers or caretakers. A job at PetSmart may be for you if you’re a medical cannabis patient who loves animals. It could also be an excellent jumping point for an animal-related career.

RELATED: CBD Oil for Dogs

10 Jobs That Don't Usually Drug Test

web designer jobs dont drug test

Companies are finding that a growing number of job candidates are medical marijuana users, and many employers have decided they can’t afford to turn away potential employees because they use cannabis. In New York and a growing number of states, many employers are prohibited from testing employees for off-hours cannabis use, especially in the case of medical patients.

Additionally, pre-employment drug screening can represent a significant expense for companies, and many have chosen to do away with that requirement – either entirely or for certain positions (like those listed below). This is not ubiquitous among all these jobs or industries, but generally speaking, medical cannabis patients are less likely to have to choose between their medicine and career in the following fields.

1. Restaurant Cook

Chefs employed in restaurants or eateries will rarely need to pass a marijuana drug test before they are hired. Usually, the fast pace of the food industry means that restaurants cannot afford the expense, nor do they find it necessary to find suitable job candidates. If you are a cannabis user with some cooking skills, restaurant chef positions are available to you.

2. Restaurant Server/Manager

Chefs are not the only people in the restaurant who are exempt from drug tests. Servers rarely need to pass a test before being offered employment. The same can be said of restaurant managers. Profit margins are very slim for most establishments, which makes routine drug testing impractical or financially impossible.

3. Accountant

The drug testing policies of various accounting firms may differ, but being an accountant allows one to contract out to your own clients and customers. Those accountants who work for themselves do not need to worry about passing a drug test while still making a comfortable income.‍

4. Personal Trainer

Personal trainers and fitness instructors are also usually exempt from marijuana drug tests (though they may need to take tests for other drugs). Not to mention that personal trainers can also find their own clients and work for themselves, much like accountants can.

5. Beauty Industry

Most salon and spa jobs within the beauty industry are also friendly to cannabis-using candidates. This is for many of the same reasons as previously mentioned; drug testing is often too costly and turns away too many qualified candidates. And like personal trainers and accountants, beauty professionals often can work for themselves and acquire their own clientele.

6. Retail Sales Associate

Many companies don’t require retail employees to submit to a pre-employment drug test. These can include positions at grocery stores, department stores, convenience stores, and just about any major chain store. These jobs are usually entry-level positions, and they’re fairly easy to find. They also tend to be more flexible, which is perfect for retirees and college students. Some companies are even more willing to promote from within, too. However, most retail positions are relatively low-paying, and some people may find it stressful dealing with customers.

7. Software Developer or Engineer

The majority of tech companies do not require potential software developers or programmers to pass a drug test. The mindset of these companies is that cannabis use is not relevant to their work and, in this case, would make it very difficult to find talented programmers.

8. Web Designer/Developer

Like software developers, web designers and web developers can also work for themselves and avoid drug tests. Additionally, the protocol at many large tech companies today is to not drug test for in-demand tech positions. The tech sector can be very competitive, which may make it hard to break into higher pay scales as a new designer or developer. But most skilled developers can afford to be selective with their potential employers. And with many web development or web design jobs being entirely remote, it makes pre-employment drug tests exceedingly unlikely.

9. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers, along with many creative positions, rarely need to pass drug tests before being hired. Ultimately, hiring managers will be concerned with their candidates’ portfolios and level of talent. Whether they use marijuana or not doesn’t take up serious consideration for most companies. These positions also make freelancing and remote work possible.

10. Freelancer

  • Average Pay: Varies Greatly

Many of the previously mentioned occupations are advantageous for freelancing, which naturally involves no drug tests. The most common jobs freelancers hold are software engineers, web developers, graphic designers, writers, consultants, and more. Ultimately, the surest way to avoid any employment-related drug tests is by working for yourself.

The Complete Guide to Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain

Find natural, lasting relief with our comprehensive (and completely free) patient’s guide to medical cannabis for chronic pain.

Types of Jobs That Do Routinely Drug Test

In contrast, there are some kinds of employers that always drug test before offering employment. Medical marijuana patients should be mindful of these employers during their job search.

Safety-Sensitive Positions

While it is often at the discretion of the employers whether to require drug tests or not, some companies have no choice. In many cases, organizations whose workers are employed in “safety-sensitive positions” are bound by law to conduct pre-employment drug screenings. Routine drug tests during employment are also commonplace for safety-sensitive jobs.

A particular position is considered “safety-sensitive” if the job performance of the employee has the chance of affecting the safety of themselves or their fellow co-workers. A forklift operator, flight attendant, and mechanical engineer are all examples of safety-sensitive positions. These workers are barred from ever performing their job duties while under the influence of cannabis. Otherwise, their safety and the safety of others could be at risk. Unless you are willing to give up cannabis use entirely, safety-sensitive jobs as a whole are off the table.

Federal or Government Jobs

Cannabis is still listed as a Schedule 1 substance by the DEA and Federal Government. This means that the Federal Government does not recognize the legality of state cannabis legalization laws and consequently bars all their employees from using cannabis, even medically. In fact, the US Government has made this explicit with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which states that all federal workplaces must be drug-free workplaces.

Not only that but any company or organization that receives federal funding must also mandate drug-free workplaces. As such, medical cannabis patients who don’t have the option to quit cannabis should omit federal and government jobs from your job search. You should also conduct preliminary research on companies that may receive federal contracts or grants before applying, as they will inevitably ask for a drug screening.

Drug-Free Workplaces

It should be noted that in most of the states that have legalized cannabis use, an employer’s ability to mandate a drug-free workplace remains unchallenged. Business owners can, if they choose, require their prospective employees to test negative for cannabis use before making an offer of employment, even if they are legal medical patients. Generally speaking, these companies should be easy to spot during the job-hunting process. Most include this requirement directly somewhere in the job description.

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Can you decline to take a drug test?

You can always refuse a drug test. At the same time, the company always has the right to refuse you employment if you do. The same is true if you’re already employed and are asked to submit to a random test.

Is it better to refuse a pre-employment drug test or to take it and risk failing?

There isn’t a best answer here. Either refusing to take a test or failing a test can both result in losing out on an offer. You can also try being upfront with your employer about your status as a medical cannabis patient and see if they’re willing to allow your off-the-clock cannabis use.  

What kind of drug tests do companies use?

There’s a sizable range in the tests that companies use. Urine tests are usually the most common. Saliva swabs are also regularly used, though they’re more common for on-the-job incidents (following an accident or injury at work, for example). For more safety or security sensitive jobs, you may see a hair follicle test, though they are considered largely unreliable. 

How long does THC stay in your system?

How long THC stays in your system depends heavily on the amount of THC you consumed and how frequently you use cannabis. If you only use cannabis once, it will likely clear your system in about 3 days. If you use cannabis moderately (up to 4 days a week), it can take a week or more to leave your system. Daily users can typically expect THC to clear in about 30 days or less, though in some cases and with certain testing procedures, individuals could test positive for up to 90 days.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

While CBD won’t show up on a drug test, but other components in CBD products might. That’s because even though hemp products marketed as “CBD” can legally only contain up to 0.3% THC, a lack of regulations and testing can mean higher levels of THC (to the point that they show up on a drug test). To learn more, check out our full breakdown of whether CBD shows up on a drug test.


You shouldn’t have to choose between your medicine and your career, and we hope the above list of companies and positions serves as a starting point to help medical cannabis patients save time and frustration while navigating the labor market. 

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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