Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

In April 2008, Michigan deemed medical marijuana a legal right, and since then about 5,100 people have registered as users with just over 1,000 denied applications. The prescriptions are for pain relief among people who are chronically and terminally ill. Michigan isn't alone, 13 states across the county have legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

What happens when a medical marijuana user tests positive for a drug test? In an article for freep.com, Kathleen Gray investigates.

In states where employees have tested positive for drug use but were medicinal users, the law has consistently sided with the employer.

Michigan's laws aren't clear cut. One section states that the user cannot be "subject arrest...or denied any right or privilege including...disciplinary action by a business," yet another portion states "nothing in the act shall be construed to require an employer to accommodate the ingestion of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana."

Executive director of the Institute for a Drug Free Workplace, Mark de Bernardo states, "Marijuana is a dangerous drug that detrimentally affects the workplace. It has impacts on health care costs, productivity, accidents, and employee turnover."

It seems that users are not protected by this law from losing their job. Should a positive test come back, as it would for any prescription drug, an MRO should deem that a prescription in fact justifies the use, it seems it is up to the employer whether or not they would like to take the risk of having a pot smoker in their workplace.

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