I work for a company in California that is owned by the federal government. The company made it clear when CA passed its Cannabis laws/regulations last year that they will continue to test and that they follow federal law so therefore employees can be disciplined including possibly being fired if we test positive for Marijuana.

I have been working from home (telecommuting) these past few months due to the pandemic and local shelter in place orders. I have anxiety and arthritis and have been wanting to try different marijuana products to help with this.

Is it possible for an an employer in California to order their telecommuting employees to do a drug test? Is it likely? Are there any known cases anyone knows about? I want to do it but want to know how to weigh the risk.

  • 1
    What sort of testing procedures were in place before your started working from home?
    – sf02
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 19:32
  • 4
    Is it not possible to get a doctors prescription ? There is not question about the legality of it. And generally they arn‘t going to test you at home. They will test you when you go back to work, which could be any time and you‘ll get caught then. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 21:25
  • Private companies cannot actually be "owned" by the U.S.A government. This question is not clear. If you work for agency of the federal government, then a positive drug test, can be grounds to be fired and/or not be hired. Consult the policy at your place of work, but most places, indicate you can be requested to be drug tested for any reason randomly.
    – Donald
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 22:51
  • 2
    Is it possible for an an employer in California to order their telecommuting employees to do a drug test? Assuming that the employer could require it of employees working in the office prior to the pandemic, this would depend on whether facilities that do drug testing are open and processing these specific tests.
    – BSMP
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 23:25
  • I am new to stack exchange. Would I get dinged for asking this question on another SE site like Law Stack Exchange? I got a response here in The Workplace which I marked as accepted but only because, though helpful, I don't anticipate any other better responses.
    – Chole
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


"Employers can terminate an employee for marijuana use even if it is done with a valid prescription for a medical condition or disability." -- LegalMatch.com (https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/california-laws-on-medical-marijuana-in-employment.html) The article also links to discussion of Californians' constitutional right to privacy and how it is balanced against a company's right to drug test. In short, I think you need to talk to a lawyer because this situation is untested in the courts.

  • 1
    +1 simply for the "untested" pun in the final sentence :-)
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 21:57
  • An accident, but I'l take it. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 23:19
  • @MichaelMcFarlane thanks for the resource. I read it. This was not the answer I was hoping for but I recognize and appreciate what you are saying "this situation is untested in the courts". I don't anticipate anyone else providing an answer so I will mark yours as the accepted answer.
    – Chole
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 21:22

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