Can Pharmacists and Dentists Smoke Marijuana Legally in California?

Californian adults aged above 21 can use marijuana for medical and recreational purposes legally. However, employers, especially those operating in the healthcare sphere, have been using drug-free workplace policies to restrict the use of marijuana amongst employees.

Human resources in these sectors have the right to fire employees who use marijuana while in active employment. Also, the HRs can refuse to hire new employees who cannot pass a marijuana test.

With the conflicting state and workplace regulations, you can easily find yourself in trouble if you are a marijuana connoisseur who just got employed or looking to get their first job in California’s healthcare sector.

So, if you are a dentist or pharmacist, and you are wondering if it would be okay to use marijuana in California, here is the information you need to avoid trouble.

Can Pharmacists use marijuana?

No state law prohibits pharmacists from using marijuana as long as they are above 21. Therefore, you can use marijuana and its products like gum, tea, chocolate, and coffee freely.

However, there are several restrictions you need to put in mind when using weed for recreational or medicinal purposes. One, the California State Board of Pharmacy, prohibits pharmacists from working under the influence of marijuana.

Any pharmacist found dispensing drugs under the influence of marijuana will get a fine or a one-year sentence. The board can also take disciplinary action if your performance as a pharmacist has dwindled due to Marijuana abuse.

Two, many healthcare employers prohibit pharmacists from using marijuana completely. They will fire you if suspected and confirmed. They believe pot can impair your judgment, compromise your workplace safety, and risk the well-being of clients.

Nevertheless, the restrictions differ from employee to employee. For instance, some human resource departments will restrict you from using weed while on duty, and others will limit you from using pot for as long as you work under them.

To avoid trouble, seek clarification from your human resource department.

Can Dentists Smoke Marijuana in California?

Yes, Californian dentists can smoke marijuana for recreational or medical use. The state does not restrict the use of marijuana as long as you use it within the limits of law. Though legal, the Californian dental board prohibits dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants from working under the influence of weed.

You would be sued, fired, or fined for using marijuana while handling patients.

On the other hand, health facilities have several restrictions to regulate the use of marijuana. Since the safe workplace restrictions vary from one employer to another, we suggest you get clear communication from the human resource department.

General Ideas to Avoid Marijuana-Related Wrangles at the Workplace

1. Avoid marijuana if you are on a visa or green card

The federal government prohibits non-citizens from using or possessing marijuana, even if they reside in states where the substance is legal. A breach would lead to deportation or hinder you from receiving permanent residency. All non-citizens operate under federal law, which still prohibits pot smoking.

2. Avoid marijuana when on duty

All healthcare employers in California prohibit the use of pot while on duty. This is because marijuana impairs judgment and coordination. If you are a pharmacist, you could make wrong prescriptions, and if you are a dentist, the impaired coordination could lead to costly medical errors.

So, for the sake of your reputation and that of your employer, avoid smoking marijuana when working.

3. Familiarize with your employer’s policy regarding marijuana use

Though California permits the use of marijuana, employers have their own set of restrictions. Therefore, if you don’t wish to brush shoulders with the human resource department, familiarize yourself with the employer’s rules.

Don’t just assume that you have the freedom to smoke pot simply because it is legal in California. You could end up getting fired.

4. Moderate the use of marijuana

Excessive use of marijuana can affect your professional life in significant ways. It will interfere with your performance, making you vulnerable to workplace conflicts. As well, excessive smoking of pot can lead to addiction or dependency. Therefore, it would be advisable to take it in moderation.

5. Stay away from Marijuana-related offenses

As a dentist or pharmacist in California, you have a reputation to protect. Avoid driving under the influence of marijuana, and don’t possess more than the required amounts. You’d also want to avoid using it within premises where its use is prohibited. Discipline will protect you from litigations that compromise your career as a dentist or pharmacist.

Take Away—Can Pharmacists and Dentists use Marijuana in California?

Like all adults above 21 years, dentists and pharmacists can use marijuana legally in California. Nonetheless, professional boards and employers have their restrictions regarding the use of this substance. For instance, the Dentist Board of California and the pharmacist board prohibit smoking pot while on duty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid trouble, use the employer’s substance use regulations as your guideline.


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