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Social work and medical marijuana


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#1 DexterSinister

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:50 PM

There's a conflict here for me: I am currently working toward a master's in social work, but fairly recently my fibromyalgia became so bad I started using MJ for pain relief. One might think that marijuana use might be antithetical to wanting to help substance abusers, but there it is. So I am wondering: in the state of Michigan, is it possible to combine a career in social work (even on the bachelor level) with medical MJ use? Is there any path out there that uses the advantages of both? And most seriously, can a certified MSW in Michigan use medical MJ and retain his certification as a social worker? Is it possible to become a caregiver in a way that maximizes my learning? What advice can you all give me?
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#2 solabeirtan

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 08:20 PM

Since cannabis is not physically addictive, you would be treating psychological perceptions in that regard.

Recent studies have indicated that it does in fact posses theraputic qualities.
The AMA has revised their opinion of Cannabis to put it in a much more positive light.
There is ongoing research regarding the CBDs in Cannabis and Cannibinoid Receptors built in to the brain.

Possibly you might get a grant or something to initiate such a study, or conduct your own reasearch?
As a Compassinate Cannabis Caregiver any additional services you offer would be greatly appreciated, however Patients primary need for the Caregiver is for their Cannabis. Possibly their insurance could cover other services or bill separatly?
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#3 philanthropy

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:31 AM

I have a friend who is in the same exact situation...

she is scared to even get her patient card because of the issue...

#4 HerbalHealing

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 09:45 AM

We must go on and endure, someday and you will find somewhere that does not believe in testing for THC.

#5 ______

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 11:14 AM

There are many other areas of social work which don't involve drug rehab, I'm sure you are aware of this. I would think that in a drug abuse facility you would be subject to lots of testing. Working in a small clinic I doubt you would be subject to more than an initial drug screen.

I also believe that within a few years we will see marijuana treated much less like a drug abuse problem than it is now.

#6 ms.clark

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 05:09 PM

There's a conflict here for me: I am currently working toward a master's in social work, but fairly recently my fibromyalgia became so bad I started using MJ for pain relief. One might think that marijuana use might be antithetical to wanting to help substance abusers, but there it is. So I am wondering: in the state of Michigan, is it possible to combine a career in social work (even on the bachelor level) with medical MJ use? Is there any path out there that uses the advantages of both? And most seriously, can a certified MSW in Michigan use medical MJ and retain his certification as a social worker? Is it possible to become a caregiver in a way that maximizes my learning? What advice can you all give me?


Dear Dexter,
I am a licensed master social worker that has done some research on the topic. The law is clear for caregivers: No professional licensing boards or associations (such as NASW) can move against someone holding a professional license for providing medical marijuana according to the state laws. This is the policy of the Michigan Department of Community Health who supplies the license for BOTH MI social workers & medicinal marijuana. The law is less clear for social workers that are patients. Social workers must never come to work under the effects of marijuana or any other drug. But many social workers have medical conditions that require them taking much stronger medication under a doctor's care. I look at it this way--if you had a legal prescription for Vicodin and were taking it as prescribed, then you would have certain protections. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 & the Americans With Disablilites Act prohibits actions against those individuals that meet their criteria (which marijuana patients do, despite the descrepancy between state and federal laws). Employment contracts that state a Zero Tolerance actually have you sign away some of your rights granted under these laws. The medicinal marijuana industry is made for social work. We work in Methadone Clinics, Pain Clinics, Hospice, Clean Needle Exchanges, etc., so there are many paths one could take. Ethically, social workers should remain vigilant for Conflict of Interest issues. Hope this helps somewhat.

#7 DexterSinister

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:57 PM

Dear Dexter,
I am a licensed master social worker that has done some research on the topic. The law is clear for caregivers: No professional licensing boards or associations (such as NASW) can move against someone holding a professional license for providing medical marijuana according to the state laws. This is the policy of the Michigan Department of Community Health who supplies the license for BOTH MI social workers & medicinal marijuana. The law is less clear for social workers that are patients. Social workers must never come to work under the effects of marijuana or any other drug. But many social workers have medical conditions that require them taking much stronger medication under a doctor's care. I look at it this way--if you had a legal prescription for Vicodin and were taking it as prescribed, then you would have certain protections. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 & the Americans With Disablilites Act prohibits actions against those individuals that meet their criteria (which marijuana patients do, despite the descrepancy between state and federal laws). Employment contracts that state a Zero Tolerance actually have you sign away some of your rights granted under these laws. The medicinal marijuana industry is made for social work. We work in Methadone Clinics, Pain Clinics, Hospice, Clean Needle Exchanges, etc., so there are many paths one could take. Ethically, social workers should remain vigilant for Conflict of Interest issues. Hope this helps somewhat.

That helps enormously. It gives me hope. I wanted to work as a substance abuse counselor because I am a recovering alcoholic and want to give back the life I regained in rehab. I know I can work in other disciplines, but I won't feel right if I do something else. On the other hand, I have to keep in mind that if I don't take care of myself, I can't help anyone anyway.

No matter what, hearing this from a social worker gives me reason to believe that a future exists in which I can care for people and receive care myself. Thank you.

#8 ms.clark

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 01:14 PM

That helps enormously. It gives me hope. I wanted to work as a substance abuse counselor because I am a recovering alcoholic and want to give back the life I regained in rehab. I know I can work in other disciplines, but I won't feel right if I do something else. On the other hand, I have to keep in mind that if I don't take care of myself, I can't help anyone anyway.

No matter what, hearing this from a social worker gives me reason to believe that a future exists in which I can care for people and receive care myself. Thank you.



Hi Dexter,
Good News! I just got off the phone with the NASW (national association of social workers). They have an ethics line where you can talk to another social worker. I was informed that NASW will stand behind any social worker that uses marijuana as long as they have a patient card. They warn to only dose at night after your work day is done. :-)

#9 philanthropy

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:02 PM

Hi Dexter,
Good News! I just got off the phone with the NASW (national association of social workers). They have an ethics line where you can talk to another social worker. I was informed that NASW will stand behind any social worker that uses marijuana as long as they have a patient card. They warn to only dose at night after your work day is done. :-)


THANK YOU!!!!! I will be forwarding this onto my Social Worker friend! I hope this helps her and others as well. :)

Can you post the number you called? Or send it to me so I can give it to her?

#10 DexterSinister

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 10:20 AM

Hi Dexter,
Good News! I just got off the phone with the NASW (national association of social workers). They have an ethics line where you can talk to another social worker. I was informed that NASW will stand behind any social worker that uses marijuana as long as they have a patient card. They warn to only dose at night after your work day is done. :-)

Thank you SO much!! Like Philanthropy said, can you give that number? I'd like to talk to them about some finer points around this issue.

#11 greenbuddha

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 06:31 PM

Thank you SO much!! Like Philanthropy said, can you give that number? I'd like to talk to them about some finer points around this issue.


Dexter... I've been in the mental health field for over 25 years, these are my thoughts so take them for whatever you feel they might be worth.

As for the 'MDCH Licensing Board' I think that it is more likely they would challenge your MMJ use if the use impaired the 'professional' performance of your work.

Probably would be a very good idea to have a MMJ 'use' schedule wherein you only use off duty or at night, if possible. IMO, as long as your MMJ usage does not impair your judgment it becomes less likely that the Board would get involved, since the law states that your license cannot be challenged JUST for being an MMJ patient.

As with ANY 'medication', IF the Board can show that the use impairs your professionalism then the Board might have grounds to take action on your license. Licensing boards assume being 'ethical' by checking our own behavior is part of what it means to be a 'professional', staying within a MMJ usage regimen that allows you to 'monitor' yourself should keep you well within the Boards regulations.

An employment site checking for 'drug' use is another matter, but as in a previous post it looks as if your National organization might give you some backup there and that would be between you, your National org and your employer.

Don't know if this helps at all... hope it does.


Peace.

#12 christinax4

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 08:33 PM

what an interesting topic! great replies too, espec ms. clark...
Dextersinister i feel for you, fibromyalgia is a terrible condition which i know first hand. Im actually on full disability for it. Having less stress about this situation alone may improve your symptoms...hopefully. Im currently doing some research on strains for my own personal knowledge! and find the most relief in my symptoms with a heavy indica at night, and a strong sativa during the day, and always premedicate if your going to be doing anything physical...good luck, i cant imagine having fibro, working and going to school...

#13 philanthropy

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 09:45 PM

just wanted to show this. i know its been posted before. but i wanted to highlight the parts relevant to this subject.

"4. Protections for the Medical Use of Marihuana.

Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount.

(B) A primary caregiver who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process with the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the primary caregiver possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed:

(1) 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana for each qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process; and

(2) for each registered qualifying patient who has specified that the primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility; and

(3) any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots."


#14 ms.clark

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 03:58 PM

Hello All,
The contact information for the National Association of Social Workers, Michigan chapter: 517-487-1548. In the phone options, choose the Ethics Line. This option allows you to ask questions of a Social Worker. Most times you have to leave a call back number or a message. I was called back within one day. Very helpful for all types of questions.

#15 phaquetoo

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 07:52 AM

Good post
If you were on pain narcotics written from your dr. you would still be a therapist rite? There is a big dif between narcotic pain releif and mm pain relief, and mm is not addicting, maybe physically but you wont dt from it, you will just miss it. lol, I say if you use mm instead of prescription meds you are not in a confilict of interest,,every profesional i seen in the substance abuse programs i have been in actualy encouraged me to get my mm card, and get off of my pain meds, done did!

#16 ccpulsipher

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:15 AM

thats great news good luck on your new career and i hope u help alot of people

#17 JayBuds

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 02:04 PM

its sad but you need to cheat these test untill prohibition is over at the least..

Small Fishtank Thermometer sticker+ Purel 4oz bottle+Hand warmer

make sure its right temp on the sticker before using it...Congratulations Freedom and Liberty..

#18 phaquetoo

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Posted 15 April 2010 - 08:56 AM

its sad but you need to cheat these test untill prohibition is over at the least..

Small Fishtank Thermometer sticker+ Purel 4oz bottle+Hand warmer

make sure its right temp on the sticker before using it...Congratulations Freedom and Liberty..



LMAO love it! you got it covered!

#19 Ezrah

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 05:55 PM

Great Topic, and such great contributions. I think a lot of folks have concerns in this area, I have a friend that is a master electrician and he is not open to getting his card for fear of it jeopardizing his licensing there. The more people are educated about there rights and the laws the better for us all. again great posts and topic.

#20 no#12

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:29 PM

real quick thought why does substance abuse and the use of medical marijuana even become associated with one another could the topic poster please send me a pm or respond to bash me as has been the community to some of my previous posts




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