Can I Use Medical Marijuana at Work in Florida?

Florida law allows the use of medical marijuana, but it does not require employers to accommodate its use in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not currently protect the use of federally prohibited drugs, including marijuana. However, there is ongoing legal debate, with some cases arguing that off-hours use of medical marijuana should be protected under the ADA. Meanwhile, due to labor scarcity, some Florida employers are reconsidering policies that discriminate against medical marijuana users, as they cannot afford to lose potential employees.
Table of Contents

While Florida law permits the use of medical marijuana, Senate Bill 8A expressly states:

This section does not limit the ability of an employer to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy. This section does not require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana. This section does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination. Marijuana, as defined in this section, is not reimbursable under chapter 440.

A number of patients have turned to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for recourse; however, marijuana’s federal prohibition currently presents a number of challenges.

The Americans With Disabilities Act & Medical Marijuana

As Florida law firm Wenzel Fenton Cabassa notes, courts in multiple states have “uniformly concluded” that the ADA does not protect someone using a federally prohibited drug. Since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance (along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy), it unfortunately falls under this category. However, a recent case provides hope:

In 2017, a former UPS sales director alleged that UPS terminated his employment in violation of the ADA and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The case, Terry v. United Parcel Services, Inc., claims that Terry used legally obtained medical marijuana, under the direction of his doctor, during non-work hours to treat chronic pain.

Terry claims that he never possessed, used, or was impaired by marijuana while on UPS property or during working hours. In April 2017, UPS required Terry to report immediately for a drug test; one week later, the company terminated his employment due to positive drug screening results.

Terry argues that he’s a disabled individual within the meaning of the ADA and that UPS failed to offer him any reasonable accommodation for his disabilities. While lawyers with Seyfarth Shaw call the case an “uphill battle”, they say the verdict is one to watch – in the wake of rapidly evolving case law, one trial could change the tide.

The Florida Bar Journal acknowledges:

[Florida law] is silent as to whether employers must accommodate off-site use of marijuana.

As it currently stands, “off hours” claims like Terry’s might just be the key to unlocking larger ADA discussions.

Employee advice

Florida lawyers advise employees to have a clear understanding of their employer’s drug screening policy prior to starting employment. Until then, patients are encouraged to monitor pivotal cases (see: The Florida Bar Journal) and maintain an open line of communication with their employer.

One interesting point to keep in mind:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Florida’s non-farming job openings has increased over 1% since February of this year. Conversely, Florida’s labor force has only increased by 0.1% which means that there is a major gap continuing to grow between the number of jobs available and the number of people who are able to work them.

Due to this looming labor scarcity issue, many employers in the state of Florida are realizing that they cannot afford to implement policies that discriminate against medical marijuana card-holders. By doing so, these employers are shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak, by eliminating much needed labor assets.

Although the battle for patient protection in the workplace is still ongoing, the silver lining for medical marijuana card-holders who are worried about whether or not they could be fired for failing a drug test, is the sheer fact that many employers have more of an incentive to keep them than to fire them simply because there are not enough skilled workers to go around.

Legislative Updates

For updates on current state and federal legislation, see: Medical Marijuana: Employee Rights & Safety.

Updated: April 29, 2024

Jessica Walters

Jessica Walters serves as CannaMD's Chief Medical Researcher. Prior to her time at CannaMD, Jessica earned her degree from Harvard where she focused on neuropsychology. Her personal research interests include psychosocial interventions for obesity, depression, and generalized anxiety disorders.


Questions about medical marijuana? Ready to get your card and purchase legal cannabis products? CannaMD‘s state-certified network of medical marijuana doctors are here to help! Contact CannaMD‘s experienced team at (855) 420-9170 today. You can also find out if you qualify for medical marijuana treatment with our quick online application!

Find Out If You Qualify

You may be eligible for medical marijuana!

To stay up-to-date with the latest studies and legal regulations surrounding medical marijuana treatment, be sure to follow CannaMD on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter, below!

Join 100k+ Subscribers!

Get updates on more posts like this!

Related PostS

Feedback from our readers is very important and helps us provide quality articles. Please don’t be shy, leave a comment.

If you have a topic you would like us to cover in our blog or you are interested in writing guest posts please contact us for more information.

Get a medical marijuana certification