This week’s question: The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

QUESTION: I was offered a new job but have to pass a drug screen before I can begin working. I have a Patient Identification card from the State of Michigan allowing me to legally possess and use medical marihuana to alleviate my chronic back pain. I am fairly certain I will test positive for marihuana on my drug screen test. The company has a drug-free workplace and zero tolerance policy toward drug use.  Can my future employer withdraw the job offer if I test positive for marihuana?

ANSWER: Yes. The stated purpose of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act is to decriminalize marihuana for the health and welfare of its citizens. The legal protections extended under Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act, however, do not extend employment rights to current or prospective employees. The Michigan Marihuana Act plainly states that an employer is not required to accommodate the ingestion of marihuana in any workplace or to accommodate any employee who is working under the influence of marihuana. The law further states that it is unlawful for any person to undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would be negligent. Users of medical marihuana may not operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of the substance.

Michigan, like other states where regulated amounts of marihuana may be legally possessed and used, allows employers to terminate or withdraw job offers to persons who test positive for marihuana. The statute’s intent is to protect users and others from criminal and civil penalties for using or possessing marihuana. Many people who hold Patient Identification cards have complained their underlying medical condition qualifies them for an exception when it comes to applying for or keeping a job. Courts across the country have rejected those arguments. The statute allows employers to lawfully terminate the employment of employees or withdraw job offers from prospective employees who test positive for the substance.

The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at www.gwinntauriainenlaw.com

ASK THE LAWYER By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq. Attorney and Counselor at Law GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC 901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 247-3300 (248) 247-3310 facsimile daniel@gwinnlegal.com www.gwinntauriainenlaw.com

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