By Dale Gieringer, Ph.D, Director, California NORML
California NORML has recently heard increasing reports that Marinol patients are being drug tested and denied employment for use of marijuana. In particular, we have heard from legal Prop. 215 patients who were denied jobs despite presenting Marinol prescriptions after being re-tested specifically for marijuana. Until recently, Marinol and marijuana were indistinguishable on the standard drug tests, so that patients with a Marinol prescription had a valid medical excuse under federal law for testing positive for marijuana.
However, special testing techniques have been developed that make it possible to distinguish the two by testing for non-standard cannabinoids that appear in marijuana but not Marinol. Until recently, these tests were expensive and rarely used except in high-profile criminal cases. However, it appears that they are now being routinely used by certain laboratories in cases where Marinol use is claimed. In particular, we have heard reports of such testing being used to disqualify Marinol-using Prop 215 patients by the transportation industry and by Walmart.
California NORML has accordingly altered its drug testing information to warn against relying on Marinol RXs as a screen for marijuana use: http://www.canorml.org/healthfacts/testing.tips.html
There is of course no valid scientific or health justification for allowing patients to use Marinol but not marijuana. The only purpose is to enforce compliance with the law. It is a tribute to the power and influence of the drug testing industry that they have prevailed in foisting the costs of this unnecessary and obnoxious procedure on employers.
California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
(415) 563-5858 / www.canorml.org