On November 6, 2018, Michigan voters passed Proposal 1, known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“the Act”), decriminalizing the possession and use of marihuana by adults aged 21 years or older.
While much of the Act addresses the use, cultivation and amounts of marihuana that can be legally possessed, the Act also expressly addresses the rights of employers to ban the use of marihuana in the workplace.
Specifically, Section 4.3. of the Act states that employers are not required to permit or accommodate an employee’s marihuana use under the Act and, therefore, employers remain free to discipline any employee violating an established workplace drug policy and/or for working while under the influence of marihuana.
Employers should also note that the Act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire a prospective employee due to their desire to use recreational marihuana.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the "MMMA") became Michigan law on December 4, 2008. The MMMA permits an individual with a qualifying debilitating medical condition to register as a medical marihuana patient with the Michigan Department of Community Health and avoid criminal penalties under state law for certain medical uses of marihuana.
Employers should note that the MMMA does not provide an employee with the right to use or be under the influence of medical marihuana in the workplace.
Therefore, like recreational marihuana, employers remain free to discipline or terminate any employee violating an established workplace place drug policy or for working while under the influence of marihuana.
Workplace policies should always try to strike a balance between employee and employer’s rights.
Employers should adopt a straightforward drug and alcohol policy that can be incorporated into an employee handbook, policy manual, or be issued separately as a policy bulletin. This will ensure employees are knowledgeable of the rules and job implications associated with the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace.
These policies help:
- Establish and maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
- Reduce the number of accidental injuries to persons or property.
- Reduce absenteeism and tardiness and increase productivity.
- Maintain a professional atmosphere for employees and visitors.
Annual updates to policies will provide employees with clear understanding of what is expected of them, and avoid unwanted conflicts.