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Michigan Recreational Marijuana: Read Up Before You Toke Up

Dec 3 | 2018  by

As we’ve all heard by now, recreational marijuana will soon be legal throughout the state of Michigan. But what does that mean for the workplace?

Employment Marijuana Policies

According to the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, an employer may continue to enforce workplace drug policies. Employers can permit or accommodate the use of recreational marijuana during off-hours or not. In any scenario, however, employers should prohibit marijuana use in safety-sensitive jobs.

In addition, employers with federal contracts or employees licensed by federal agencies must have a zero-tolerance marijuana policy. This is because the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal substance. Employers should deal proactively with these issues through their written policies and procedures.

Employers should also know some states protect medical marijuana use by applicable disability laws. Including laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Michigan, if you’re terminated for medical marijuana use you still have the option to apply for unemployment benefits.

Recreational Marijuana Concerns

This new legislation has raised important questions about the intersection between personal freedoms and the rights of employers to maintain a drug-free workplace. While the use of recreational marijuana will be legal for adults over 21, employers still have the right to set their own rules and regulations when it comes to drug use among employees.

One of the key concerns for employers is ensuring a safe and productive work environment. Marijuana can impair cognitive function and motor skills, which poses a potential risk for employees operating heavy machinery or performing safety-sensitive tasks. Employers have a responsibility to protect the well-being of their employees and customers, and that includes enforcing drug-free workplace policies.

Review your Policies!

It’s important for employers to review and revise their existing policies in light of this new recreational marijuana legislation. For example, some employers may choose to update their drug testing procedures to include a distinction between active impairment and historical marijuana use. These testing methods would identify if an employee is currently impaired by marijuana or has used it within a specific timeline.

One consideration for employers is how to handle situations where an employee may use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since the use of medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008. Employers should review their policies to ensure they are in compliance with both.

The moral of the story is read up before you toke up! Employers should review their workplace policies and procedures and consider revisions where appropriate.