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Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal in Michigan: What That Means for Employers

This month, Michigan became the tenth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, by passing Proposal 1. With the recent midterm election, this likely will soon become a conversation in additional states, as well. So, what exactly does that mean for drug screening for employment purposes?

According to the article What Employers Need to Know About Employee Marijuana Use Under Proposal 1 by Dickinson Wright:

“Proposal 1 specifically provides that:

  • Employers are not required to ‘permit or accommodate’ marijuana use or possession ‘in any workplace or on the employer’s property.’
  • Employers are not prohibited from ‘disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or from working while under the influence of marijuana.’
  • Employers are not prevented from ‘refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marijuana.'”

Wright also points out that monitoring marijuana use is not as simple as allowing candidates to use marijuana off premises, contrary to alcohol use. There currently is not a way to test whether a candidate is under the influence of marijuana while at work. This is specifically significant in regards to post-accident and reasonable suspicion drug testing.

More detailed laws and restrictions are likely to come in the future. Similar to making hiring decisions based on criminal reports (as discussed in our last blog, Hiring Felons…What You Should Know), it is important to consider the nature of the position when testing for marijuana. For example, it may be necessary to prevent marijuana use for a commercial vehicle driver, but may be acceptable to allow marijuana use among graphic designers. Consistency is key, and it is always best to seek legal counsel when making employment decisions.

For more information on Proposal 1, view Detroit Free Press’s article Proposal I: Marijuana Legalization Passes in Michigan.

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