Workers in Michigan who use medical marijuana are now allowed to claim unemployment benefits if they are ever fired for failing a marijuana drug test. This ruling was made on the account of three separate cases in which workers were fired from their positions because they failed the mandatory drug test enforced under the workplace drug policy. Even though the marijuana was smoked under medical circumstances, they were still terminated from their working position.
The court decided that the Michigan Marijuana act surpassed the Michigan Employment act, and therefore those who take medical marijuana are now entitled to claim Michigan unemployment benefits. The idea behind this ruling is that those who take medical marijuana should not be penalized for their condition or illness.
The three cases that lead to this ruling emerged between 2010 and 2012. Employees were terminated from their positions after failing a random drug screen, and even though medicinal marijuana is legal in Michigan, employers still have the right to employ drug free policies which state that they have the right to fire any employee who fails a drug test, regardless of the reasons involved. Even though they cannot prevent workers from being fired, they can certainly make things easier for them when in the transition period of finding a new job.
Advocates for Michigan cannabis continue to argue that it is immoral to fire someone because they obtained legal marijuana. Therefore patients will still continue to leave their jobs over their own medical condition, and even though they now get the added benefit of being able to claim unemployment, it doesn’t really amount to the constant fear of being drug tested and fired.
This is a real step forward for Michigan, and it is certainly a move in the right direction for medical marijuana smokers.