Public Employers May Refuse to Hire Medical Marijuana Users
Decision on Medical Marijuana Users
On February 19, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld that public employers may refuse to hire medical marijuana users.
Eplee v City of Lansing (2019)
In Eplee v City of Lansing (2019), the plaintiff was a job applicant for a position with the Lansing Board of Water and Light. The Board conditionally offered her a job, pending the results of a drug test. Eplee tested positive for marijuana, and the Board rescinded its conditional offer. Eplee sued under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, claiming the Board’s actions were improper. The act states that a medical marijuana user with a valid registry card cannot be subject to “penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege.”
Here, the court held that denial of at-will public employment was not an unlawful penalty under the MMMA. Eplee failed to show any entitlement to public employment. In order for the immunity provision to apply, an individual must show some pre-existing entitlement, right, or benefit that’s been lost or denied. In this case, there is no such entitlement; therefore, the immunity provision did not apply to Eplee’s circumstances.
Finally, The court’s reasoning makes it clear that public employers like municipalities may continue enforcing their drug policies. Job applicants and at-will employees do not have a right to a job or job security. Therefore, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not provide protection in these cases.