Labs Testing For Marijuana Use By Marinol Patients

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 24, 2008

    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

    43 responses to “Labs Testing For Marijuana Use By Marinol Patients”

    1. This is really a shame.

      It is so wrong to punish people, and to deny them employment opportunities and chances to be productive citizens, just for following the advice of their physician.

    2. Shane Craddock says:

      seems better to just smoke normal marijuana from a vaporizer, you get at least 30 different analogs of d9,THC – each with different and beneficial half-lives and pharmacological effects.. D-9-THC isn’t exactly “The One” when it comes to cannoboid receptor stimulus… Lets hope Barrack Obama has actual biochemist advising him in the Office of National Drug Control Policy and not your standard partisan hacks….

    3. jon smith says:

      damn shame…

    4. Watch Zeitgeist the movie says:

      Corporations will go out of their way to not wish you a merry Christmas because they might offend a fraction of their costumers who don’t celebrate Christmas.
      Why don’t you organize a boycott of companies discriminating against marijuana users. I’ll bet it wouldn’t belong before they find cannabis use irrelevant to their conditions of employment.

    5. Nick says:

      This is Insanity! What a shame.

    6. Brian Kerr says:

      i like the boycott idea. perhaps Norml could post a list of companies that drug test with contact info on them so we can voice our concerns and tell them we will boycott their busness. Millions of tokers can have an effect. also post a list of companies which don’t drug test so we can tell them we agree with their not drug testing and will buy from them instead.

    7. I think that the main problem with the situation as it stands is that there is a general perception that anyone who uses cannabis is a “stoner.”

      I’ve recently become aware of some specific MEDICAL BENEFITS which this plant could bring me, and this would not entail smoking it for “recreational uses” in any way, shape or form, but processing the plant’s vital compounds into a safer substance which could then be consumed orally, without the potential negative side effects that smoking it would (potentially) neccessarily include. (I say this even though I know of no studies which show increased risk of cancer and/or smoking-related complications, as opposed to known studies which have repeatedly proven this to be the case with tobacco.)

      That said, drug testing means nothing if it doesn’t accurately report the facts. A bad test which returns equivalent results for one product which is legal, and the same results for a product which is legal (despite absolutely being from the same source!) is ridiculous, innacurate, inneffective, and will eventually be proven so over time, at which point large numbers of lawsuits WILL result…costing society far more in the long run.

      Plain and simple truth is that, if you’re over the age of majority, not harming anyone else, and have any valid reason to partake in anything that you have chosen to partake in–be it a night at the movies, or smoking a joint–then there is no reason that you should be in any way disallowed from doing so.

      The billions that can be saved by finally growing a pair and realizing that prohibition simply doesn’t work will hardly matter against the potential additional revenues which can be had from reasonable taxation (not excessive and punitive overtaxation as is the case with alcohol, tobacco and fuel), age restriction and regulation of commercial production and distribution operations.

      For those who want to grow a few plants for their own use–even if it is for nothing more than recreational uses–should not be forced to become a criminal to do so. If it’s their choice, they do so responsibly, and they hurt noone else, then I ask you all, what crime has been committed? My answer to you is summarized in the properly detailed dissertation below:


      “Hemp For Victory” was not produced because hemp was evil, dangerous, addictive…it was produced to get people to grow a plant that would stimulate the economy and provide raw materials for more than 20,000 products…and the tax revenues that accompany those products. It worked then…why the irrational fears put forth so forcefully by those few who are wilfully ignorant of the truth today?

      Finally, I offer the very simple fact that, if it’s really so bad for you, so addictive, such a destructive force for evil, and if it caused even a single percentage of what the ignorant minority claim, would it have REALLY been in continuous, GLOBAL use for 10 MILLENNIA at this point, or would people have learned the truth long ago and ceased it’s consuption completely? Hmmmm…

      We’ve been in a new millennium for 8 years now…should we–society as a whole–start acting like we’ve got a brain in our collective heads for a change?

    8. Leroy says:

      these rat bastards,they dont even care if you have a real medical condition that is aided by this herb.I work for a fortune 500 company and i can allways tell when the boss man calls a “manditory” meeting.He then pulls out a bag full of saliva drug tests with a sheepish grin and a chuckle, you dont need to study for this test!

    9. gregg says:

      Let’s Boycott Marinol alltogether!!!!

    10. Jeff Thompson says:

      As the boss in charge of hiring new employes, I ask if you have ever smoked marijuana, If they say no, they are lying to me, I do not want them. I would Rather hire a smoker happy and on time then a drunk anyday.

      • Jarly says:

        do you have any work at home jobs available? I’ve never been turned down for employment for admitting that I have, or do, smoke pot. I suffer from chronic Pancreatitus and it’s the only thing that lets Me function properly. meaning without the horrible pain and nausea that My condition causes.