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NY Medical Marijuana Card & Background Checks

NY Medical Marijuana Card & Background Checks

Well, medical marijuana has been legalized within the state of New York since 2014. If you’re diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition and do qualify as per some additional requirements, you can register with the state’s medical marijuana program. This will allow you to have a personal registration card, protecting your rights as a medical marijuana consumer within the state.



But here’s a question that many of you have been asking us for so long, does a medical marijuana card show up on a background check in New York? Let’s find out.



Today, New York is one of the few US states where both recreational and medical use of cannabis is allowed. The state made its medical marijuana program effective, starting in 2014 followed by the legalization of adult recreational marijuana use in the year 2021. Even though the state has legalized the use of cannabis in both forms, it doesn’t mean that the whole process is not regulated.



As per federal law, marijuana is still recognized as a Schedule-I substance making cannabis possession, consumption, and distribution completely illegal. The New York medical marijuana card offers legal protection to patients within the state while the recreational use of cannabis is also restricted to permanent residents of the state.

What Are Background Checks and What Do They Show?


Backgrounds can vary on the need to conduct them in the first place. A drug history background check, sexual offense background check, employment background check, a police background check, etc. are different types of background checks that are usually different. In most cases, the background check is conducted by a relevant officer or an authority to ensure that an individual doesn’t have a recurring record of some violation of the federal/state.



There can be several things that can be traced from a background check. Personnel details, addresses, current or past job roles, registered violations of the law, etc. In short, the background check helps a law enforcement officer or any authority to determine whether the person in question is a habitual offender of some sort or has a clear record.


Privacy Laws and Medical Marijuana Card Holders


Many medical marijuana cardholders believe that being registered as a medical marijuana patient violates their privacy completely and they are registered in every government database, just a background check away from telling that they are registered cannabis consumers. However, that’s not the case.



The medical marijuana programs across the US are state-authorized and come under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The act ensures that medical dispensaries follow HIPAA regulations and that the patient’s data is kept secret and not shared with any third party without the patient’s consent. This effectively restricts access to patient’s data regarding their medical marijuana usage even to government third-party officers and agencies.


Will Your Medical Marijuana Card Show Up on a Background Check?


Fortunately, no. As mentioned earlier, medical marijuana programs are managed by state governments. This means that medical marijuana cards and the data associated with them fall under the HIPAA regulatory act. This ensures that your medical marijuana card won’t show up on most background checks. The act prevents third parties from accessing such data regardless of their status.


Specific Situations Where Medical Marijuana Use May Be Scrutinized


In case of a medical emergency: Medical marijuana usage might be scrutinized in case of an emergency when your health is in danger. The fact that whether you’re a medical marijuana consumer or not might greatly help doctors in determining the appropriate medications and treatment techniques to save your life.



During court appeals: We have often witnessed court cases being influenced in favor of one party or the other depending upon the extent of cannabis being used by an individual for any reason. In such cases, the court often orders relevant authorities to scrutinize the use of cannabis by a suspect.



During arrest: Even though medical marijuana has been legalized by many US states, there are certain regulations to keep in mind. Most importantly, you can’t consume medical cannabis and drive under its influence. If such a situation leads to some accident, your medical cannabis usage will be scrutinized by the relevant law enforcement authorities.


How to Protect Your Privacy as a Medical Marijuana Cardholder?


Considering that the medical marijuana card falls under the HIPAA regulatory act here in New York and many other US states is a great relief and a strong barrier to ensure your privacy. However, sometimes this barrier is set aside due to mistakes made by the cardholders themselves.



For example, as long as you’re purchasing medical cannabis products from registered dispensaries, your data will remain private and intact. But, the moment you decide to try some shady outlet for cannabis purchase, chances are that this HIPAA protection won’t be valid there.



Similarly, not following the law and driving under the influence of cannabis or consuming cannabis in a public place where it is prohibited to do so can lead to the nullification of HIPAA privacy benefits.
Addressing Common Questions About Medical Marijuana Cards and Background Checks


Does a medical marijuana card show up on a background check?


No, medical marijuana cards are protected under the HIPAA regulatory act and won’t show up on background checks in most cases.


Can an officer arrest me for consuming medical marijuana in New York?


No, medical marijuana was legalized within the state of New York back in 2014. Your medical marijuana card provides you exclusive rights to consume medical cannabis within the state, legally.

Can I drive while smoking cannabis?


No, as per the New York cannabis laws, driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and a punishable offense.


Is my New York medical marijuana card effective outside of the state?


No, your New York medical marijuana card is effective for cannabis purchase within the state of New York or in some other states that have signed reciprocity agreements with the state of New York in this regard.


Final Note


We understand that you might be worried about what a cop pulls you over one day for overspeeding and your medical marijuana card pops up on background check. Relax, the medical marijuana card is protected under the HIPAA regulatory act and the card won’t show up on a background check, as long as you’re following the law.