Will Employees Fired In Michigan After Failing Drug Tests For Using Medical Marijuana Be Entitled To Unemployment Benefits?

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The issue in Michigan is not whether people can be fired for using medical marijuana, but whether they can collect unemployment benefits after being terminated for using it.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the Michigan appeals court has agreed to hear two cases to determine whether someone fired for using medical marijuana still can collect unemployment benefits from the state.

The appeals court has agreed to listen to appeals from the state in the case of a forklift driver in Grand Rapids and a hospital employee in Charlotte, southwest of Lansing.

Judges in Ingham and Kent counties reversed decisions of a state agency and ruled in favor of the two people who sought benefits after being terminated.

However, the attorney general’s office doesn’t agree.

State law “recognizes that an employer has a valid interest in maintaining a drug-free workplace,” the state said in a court filing. “Thus workers who are discharged for a positive drug test are disqualified from receiving benefits.”

A date has not yet been set for arguments in the state appeals court.

Federal courts have already said that Michigan businesses have the power to fire workers for medical marijuana use.

Earlier this month, the Detroit Free Press reported that a bill allowing medical marijuana sales in pharmacies passed in the state Senate on a 22-16 vote.

Sources: Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free Press