In Michigan and other states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana, many patients who work for employers with a zero tolerance drug policy often wonder if their treatment might affect their employment. In 2014, these fears became reality for a hi-lo operator, a hospital employee, and a furniture repairman who were fired after they failed drug tests.
These three Michigan medical marijuana patients—who were never accused of being inebriated or under the influence at work—challenged the legality of their termination in court. The Michigan appeals court ruled that their terminations were lawful, but also ruled that they could still be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Michigan Moves Towards Protecting Marijuana Patient Employment Rights
Michigan Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) has introduced a bill that aims to protect employees from being fired for using medical marijuana. Co-sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), House Bill 5161 prohibits employers from terminating or taking adverse employment action against employees who are lawful medical marijuana patients—unless their use of cannabis affects their job performance.
This proposed bill has yet to become law, but it is a welcome move towards clarifying the rights and responsibilities of Michigan medical marijuana patients. The bill covers issues unrelated to employment too. For example, the bill protects medical marijuana patients from being denied child custody or visitation rights unless the treatment creates “an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.”
The Michigan Medical Marijuana System is Evolving
The Michigan medical marijuana industry’s legal framework will be affected by three controversial bills—House Bills 4209, 4210 and 4827—that have passed through the House of Representatives. These new laws will implement important changes to the manner in which medical marijuana is grown, transported, and marketed within the State.
Basically, this new regulatory scheme will make it easier for the Michigan government to control the flow of marijuana from producers to patients. With a so-called seed to sale tracking system, the state will be able to ensure that no medical marijuana ends up on the black market. The new laws also provide for the taxation of medical marijuana.
Critics of these regulations state that the added costs and controls will push marijuana users towards the black market, where prices may be lower. Against this backdrop, Representative Singh’s House Bill 5161 offers an important incentive for people to use the legal market and go through the steps to become a bona fide medical marijuana patient.
How a Lansing Medical Marijauna Attorney Can Help You
If the Michigan authorities want to ensure that medical marijuana patients use the new system, they should institute even more protections for people who choose to use marijuana legally. In these uncertain times of evolving medical marijuana regulations, many people may find themselves on the wrong side of the law despite the best of intentions. When this happens, working with an experienced Lansing medical marijuana lawyer is crucial. If you’re facing marijuana-related legal issues, call Tiffany DeBruin with DeBruin Law today at (517) 324-4303 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.