Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Does Having a Medical Marijuana Card Show up on a Background Check?

Table of Contents

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Contact us for Questions

Having a chronic medical condition can lead many to seek medical marijuana to deal with it, which requires a medical marijuana card.

If you have a medical marijuana card (MMJ) and have a background check, will it show up?

Let’s look at this issue.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • What Is Medical Marijuana?
  • What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?
  • What Shows up on a Background Check?
  • What Does Not Show up on a Background Check?
  • Does a Medical Marijuana Card Show up?
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • What This Means for Felons
  • Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?


What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is an alternative medicine for those suffering from various disorders, allowing them to improve their quality of life.

It is a substance that treats medical conditions using the marijuana plant and the chemicals it contains.

When used otherwise, it is simply recreational marijuana.

What Is a Medical Marijuana Card?

A medical marijuana card (MMJ) is a document that allows someone to legally obtain marijuana for medical reasons. 

Technically, a medical marijuana card is called a medical marijuana recommendation.

It is a legal requirement for anyone using cannabis for medical reasons.  

To get a medical marijuana card, you must have a physical condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use.

Each state makes its own list of qualifying conditions. 

After obtaining a cannabis card, you are allowed to buy medical marijuana at a dispensary, which is a store established to sell medical marijuana.

What Shows up on a Background Check?

So what does show up when you do a background check?

It depends on who is doing the checking and the reason for that background check.

For employment applications, a potential employer may search every record available, but some may only run a criminal background check.

Among the more important types of information typically included in a background check are:

  • Social Security Number  validation
  • Criminal records
  • Sex offender registry
  • Credit records
  • Driving records

These are the areas that are often looked at in a background investigation.

What Does Not Show up on a Background Check?

If you are wondering whether or not a medical marijuana card shows up, let’s take a quick look at the types of information that will typically not show up on a background check.

Records of juvenile convictions that have been sealed by a court typically do not show up on a background search. 

All other criminal convictions may appear unless they happened before the time limit for reporting convictions in a given state.

Does a Medical Marijuana Card Show up?

So what does all that mean for a medical marijuana card?

While it is true that almost all information about you as a felon is subject to a background check, the same is not the case for a medical marijuana card (MMJ).

A medical marijuana card is obtained through a recommendation from a physician.

By law, all information on you that is given to a licensed physician is protected.

Basically, this is done through a doctor-patient privilege much as a lawyer-client privilege.

So, anything that you reveal to your doctor is confidential.

It isn’t just a privilege that is informally maintained.

There are laws that actually protect such information. 

The record of medical marijuana evaluation is protected by federal laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

This ensures that your name will not appear on a list of marijuana users maintained by the DEA.

This alone offers you privacy of any marijuana use that is medically recommended.

You might have heard of HIPAA, but maybe you don’t know what that means.

To offer further clarification, let’s look at the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and how it works.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA was established in order to safeguard the privacy of any patient.

This helps avoid healthcare information being disclosed accidentally or deliberately. 

The restrictions under HIPAA are severe.

For the medical marijuana card, the restrictions are so strict that even a dispensary can only have access to the validity of the medical marijuana card. 

That means that a dispensary would know you had such a card, but they would not be able to view any of your medical records that are related to it.

All medical records, including the medical marijuana card, are kept confidential.

This means that no third party has the right to access your records regarding your medical conditions or the usage of medical marijuana.

The only way to do it that is through written permission. 

Under HIPAA, if someone has given explicit authority to check such data, only then he or she should be given access.

For instance, if a patient chooses to share their medical record or information for the purposes of research.

That is restrictive.

Even though a background check can reveal the information on you that is in your criminal record, the fact that you have a medical marijuana card will not show up at all.

That would be a direct violation of the law as indicated in HIPAA.

There are severe penalties for anyone who accesses and reveals such data about you.

What This Means for Felons

So, you should be secure in knowing that a medical marijuana card is not accessible to background checks, especially at the federal level.

This is partially the case because a medical marijuana card is issued at the state level.

If an employer wanted to run an exhaustive, all-inclusive background check, it is still not possible to uncover this card.

What is most likely to come up are any offenses and bushes with the law that you have had related to marijuana usage.

Of course, even if you might have legal issues related to marijuana that wouldn’t imply that you have a medical marijuana card.

This means that your medical information is safe from prying eyes. 

There might be an exception to a potential employer accessing your medical information if the job you are applying for is in a field like the military, law enforcement, or dealing with children.

There could be a case in which you must allow access to your medical records.

Then, an MMJ card could show up when those records are searched.

Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?

Yes, you can run a background check on yourself.

If you have any doubts about whether or not your MMJ card will show up on a background check that you will have done on you, then we recommend doing exactly that.

Doing a background check on yourself before applying for a job will let you know exactly what will be seen when an investigation is run, not just regarding an MMJ card. 

If you have any questions, you can contact an attorney.

Take action and don’t risk a chance on the results if you have any questions about this. 

The more you know, the better prepared you will be to answer any questions that could come up in an interview.

This also means being honest with an employer about your past, your criminal record, and a medical marijuana card.

If you aren’t open and honest, this would constitute fraud, which is a punishable offense that could result in your going back to prison.

If you are eligible, you could have your record expunged.

That would enable you to honestly state on an application that you don’t have any convictions on your record.

Remember that you don’t have to be defined by your crime.

We aren’t defined by our mistakes but in how we recover from them.

You can live an honest lifestyle, no matter how challenging it may seem.

What do you think about this blog post?

Have you or someone you know been in the situation of having a background check run with a felony while having a marijuana card?

What was that like, and what happened?

Please tell us in the comments below.

Explore More within Felony Record Hub

Jobs for Felons
Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.
post explore


How we help

This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

Your New Life Starts Here.

logo frh no text
Start Here
icon jobs

Jobs for Felons

Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.

icon housing

Housing for Felons

Find housing for felons, listed by state.

icon legal

Legal Help

The legal help you need to put your past behind you

icon rights

Rights For Felons

Learn how you can get your rights back as a felon.

icon companies hiring

Companies Hiring Felons

Finding employment as a felon is tough. That’s why we have aggregated the best jobs for felons in one spot.

View Companies
icon programs

Reentry Programs

Resources to help ex-offenders gain essential life skills for making the right choices in life.

View Reentry Programs