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Convictions hurt job search for fibromyalgia sufferers

Lana Bandoim's picture

There is a growing segment of the population that is dealing with convictions related to their fibromyalgia treatments. These criminal records are related to the possession of marijuana in states that do not have laws allowing for medicinal uses of the drug. In many cases, the records can hurt a potential candidate during the job hunt.


Convictions for marijuana possession can lead to a variety of punishments depending on the local state’s laws. A simple background check after a job application is submitted will usually reveal a person’s entire criminal record, so fibromyalgia patients cannot hide. Some industries will not accept applicants with any type of criminal past, but even small businesses are now running background checks on every potential employee to avoid problems.

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An employer’s reaction to a criminal record is not the only concern for fibromyalgia sufferers who have convictions. The public is generally less than kind after discovering they have a background that includes a trip to jail. The Staunton News Leader recently reported about its concerns related to nurses finding employment without mandatory background checks. One of the cases involved Charlotte Sifford who suffered from fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. She also had a record showing addictions to marijuana and opiates. However, she was able to get a license in another state without a background check. The Staunton News Leader’s reaction mimics the type of response many members of the public have after discovering their health provider, neighbor, clerk or another person has a record.

Debates about decriminalizing these types of convictions are widespread. Meanwhile, people who suffer from fibromyalgia and rely on medicinal marijuana to control their pain are putting their ability to find a job at risk. A conviction and criminal record can be difficult to expunge, and it may be an expensive process.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain