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

While using marijuana for medical purposes is completely legal in an increasingly large portion of the USA, it can still carry something of a stigma. Employers in particular have a reputation for seeing the word ‘marijuana’ and automatically assuming ‘drug-user’ without looking into the medical reasons behind its use. What’s more, the states where medical marijuana is legal mandate its users to carry a card identifying them as such. This may have you asking the question: “will my medical marijuana card get me in trouble during a background check?

In order to conduct a background check, one must search through vast troves of publicly available information. There are many organizations out there dedicated to this task, and are able to parse massive databases with speed and accuracy. But, can they uncover the fact that you have a medical marijuana card? Today, we will offer insight into the process as well as into the background checking sites themselves.

Why Would Someone Have a Medical Marijuana Card?

Marijuana is still considered as a Schedule I illegal substance under federal law in the USA. But, at a state level, the law is more opaque. To date, eight states (along with the District of Columbia) have ruled that responsible usage of marijuana for recreational purposes is lawful. Medical marijuana has a wider purview, and is legal in 29 states, DC and Puerto Rico. People use medical weed to treat conditions such as chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy and more.

Unlike recreational products, medical-grade cannabis often does not contain the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol, and thus doesn’t offer users much in the way of intoxication. Nevertheless, the medicinal effects of THC-free marijuana can be profound. As the body of evidence supporting its use grows, so too do the number of doctors willing to prescribe it (and thus the number of states willing to permit its use).

Will My Medical Marijuana Card Show up on a Background Check?

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The simple answer to this question is no. Because you only have a medical marijuana card on the recommendation of your doctor, it is therefore considered to be part of your private medical history. All data relating to a US citizen’s health records are protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which means the data is not in the public domain and so should not be picked up by a background check.

It should be noted that the card itself is issued by the state and is not formally protected under HIPPA. However, it is given special protections because of the implied knowledge of your health records that it could give. As a result, state officials are not permitted to access information about it or to pass any details about it on to third parties. No personal data (such as your social security number) is attached to your card either. Even the marijuana dispensary you use can only check whether your card is valid or not. It is therefore pretty much impossible for your card to show up on any background check.

How to Be Sure Your Medical Marijuana Card Doesn’t Show up on a Background Check 

There is no shortage of Americans who do not trust their politicians, their bureaucrats, or their laws–often with good reason. So, if you are not willing to take the protections of HIPPA at face value and want to know for sure that your medical marijuana card will not show up on a background check, how can you find out?

The easiest way is to run a background check on yourself. Many people do this every day because they are curious to know just what public information is held about them. Running a check can be done online and the process is quick, easy, and cheap. So, if you want the peace of mind, it is well worth the effort.

Best Background Checking Sites to See if Your Medical Marijuana Card Shows up

You can run a background check on yourself this online for just a few dollars and many of the best sites will be able to give you results in just a few minutes. But there are dozens of different sites offering this service. So, which background checking site should you be using?

Here at Addictive Tips, we have tested all of the major background checking sites to help make your choice simpler. We have employed these criteria to narrow down the field:

  • Detailed research – Some sites claim to offer in-depth research, but actually deliver little detail in their final reports. To be sure your medical marijuana card has not been identified, you need to use a site which carries out detailed and diligent research and does it fast.
  • A wide range of data searches – Some background checking sites search through more data than others. To be sure your card hasn’t come up, you need a site which searches the widest range of data sources possible.
  • Accurate and comprehensible reports – Once the research has been conducted, it’s important that the final report is easy to understand. But the quality of these reports can vary enormously. Our recommended sites all deliver easy-to-follow, accurate, and detailed reports.
  • Ease of use – Most sites have a dashboard to allow users to access data and manage their searches. But some can be fiendishly complicated. All of our recommendations have simple, easy to navigate dashboards.
  • Good customer support – If your search turns up any questions or unclear results, you will need a good customer support service. But the quality of customer service can vary wildly, so we have only identified sites that offer a helpful support team which is available outside office hours.
  • Mobile apps – Many users are keen to be able to access data and manage searches on the go, but not every site offers dedicated mobile apps. But all of our recommendations do.

Please note: Background checking is not an exact science and no site will offer a cast-iron guarantee that they have unearthed everything there is about you. But they do employ the latest research technologies so users can be fairly confident in their results. As you will be able to give them all the information they need about yourself, in these circumstances you can be confident that you will be getting accurate and detailed results from each of our three recommended sites:

1. CheckMate 

Another excellent site worth giving a try is Instant CheckMate. They also use a two-tier pricing structure and, while not the cheapest site around, do still deliver terrific value for money. For their basic fee, Checkmate can delve into details such as criminal records, marriage and divorce records, extended family, close friends and acquaintances, address history, and any information on social media sites. If you want more detail, you can upgrade to their premium service for such things as financial history, court records, driving licenses and weapons licenses.

CheckMate offers a well-designed online dashboard and superb customer support service which is available 24 hours a day. They do only offer an Android app at the moment, which is a pity. Hopefully, an iOS app is in the pipeline. But their final reports are easy to read, very detailed, and well laid out, meaning that if they have identified a medical marijuana card, you will know about it.

2. Truthfinder

Truthfinder claims to search millions of public records, so if evidence of your medical marijuana card is in the public domain, no site has a better chance of picking up on it than they do. For their basic search, they will seek out such things as current and previous addresses, criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and information about known relatives and friends. At their higher price, Truthfiner will also reveal things like your education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held.

Truthfinder claims to run a unique deep web research service too, which searches through even more online resources to sweep up any relevant information that might be out there about you. Unfortunately, Truthfinder only offers an Android app at the moment, though there is an excellent dashboard which you can access on an iOS device. Their reports are impressive too, as is their customer support service which is another that is available 24/7. As a little extra bonus, theirs is on a toll-free number too.

3. Intelius

Our final recommended site is Intelius. They offer one of the widest-ranging background checking services around which is available at a very competitive price. Intelius has completed more than 50 million background checks and can effectively uncover such things as address history, criminal records, financial history, property records, educational history, and more.

While Intelius deploys the very latest research technology, they also put a focus on the human element to their work (such as sending a runner to search through non-digitized court records where necessary). Their online dashboard is neatly designed and very easy to navigate around, and their reports are also of an excellent quality and easy to follow. Intelius offers dedicated apps available for both Android and iOS devices too and while their customer service is not available around the clock, it is open outside office hours and can be contacted via email, on the phone, or via their online troubleshooter service.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card

In most of those states where the use of marijuana is approved for medical purposes, patients still have to receive legal permission from the state to use it. To get this, you will first have to go to your doctor and have them recommend the drug to treat a pre-existing condition. If they believe it will help your condition, they can write you a medical marijuana recommendation letter.

With this letter, you are then able to apply to your state for a medical marijuana card. The state will consider your application and, providing your recommendation letter is all in order, they will in all likelihood issue you with a card. This can then be used to obtain medical marijuana from a state-licensed marijuana dispensary.

How to Keep Your Medical Marijuana Use Private

While it is legal to use marijuana for medical purposes in 29 states, only two states (Arizona and Delaware) have laws in place to prevent employers from firing or taking other adverse measures against staff for the use of medical marijuana. In other states, there are no legal protections in place for medical marijuana laws, so it is not unknown for people to lose their jobs when their employer finds out. Little wonder, then, that so many people keep their usage quiet.

It is worth remembering that a background check is not the only way an employer can find out about your use, and is therefore sensible to take a few precautions if you use medical marijuana. Firstly, be sure that private usage means private. Don’t post images or comments on social media sites about your marijuana usage that your boss or co-workers could see. Even leaving evidence in the background of a picture could lead to problems. It is also advisable not to collect your medical marijuana from a dispensary close to your workplace. The likelihood of your boss and co-workers seeing you is greatly reduced if you do it from a dispensary on the other side of town. The only thing you cannot get around is drugs tests. Some employers do choose to carry out random drugs tests on their staff. And because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, they are entitled to fire you for failing such a test, even if your use is for medicinal purposes and is approved by the state.


If you were worried about whether your medical marijuana card will show up on a background check, hopefully, this article has put your mind at ease a little. No background check should uncover your card because the information is protected by HIPPA legislation. If you want to be absolutely sure this is the case, however, you should run a background check on yourself using one of the sites we have recommended.

Are you a medical marijuana user? Did this article help ease any concerns you may have had over whether your employer could find out about your use? Have you tried running a background check on yourself to confirm that your card didn’t show up? Which of our recommended background checking sites did you use and how did you find the experience? Can you confirm that your medical marijuana card did not show up in your final report? We always welcome the input and experiences of all our readers, so please do share your own thoughts with us using the comment box below.

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