Michigan to end marijuana drug tests for most state jobs on Oct. 1
- State agencies will no longer test most hires for marijuana use in drug tests
- New rule also does away with three-year ban from state jobs for people who tested positive for marijuana
- The rule does not apply to corrections officers, state troopers, drivers and health care workers
Many prospective state of Michigan employees will no longer have to test negative on a marijuana drug test to land the job.
The Michigan Civil Service Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to change state rules requiring applicants for state government positions to pass a pre-employment marijuana drug screen and barring those who fail from working for the state in any capacity for three years.
Not all of Michigan’s nearly 54,000 full-time positions will be off the hook for marijuana drug testing when the rule takes effect Oct. 1.
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State troopers, corrections officers, health care workers — jobs in which federal rules require tests — will still be subject to testing, as will those that require frequent driving or operation of heavy machinery. State agencies will continue to drug test all incoming employees for cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and phencyclidine (angel dust.).
Commissioners said the change was in large part prompted by the legalization of recreational marijuana following a 2018 ballot measure. Recreational marijuana is now a multibillion-dollar industry in the state.
“People in the state of Michigan have made their decision, and that is to treat…recreational marijuana much like alcohol,” Commission Chair Jase Bolger said ahead of the vote.
State employers will retain the right to test for marijuana use if there’s suspicion that an employee is using at work.
Doing away with a blanket ban on marijuana for incoming state employees makes sense for Michigan, both because marijuana is legal and because the substance can stay in users’ systems for months after use, commission member Nick Ciaramitaro told Bridge Michigan.
“The fact that you had a gummy several months ago should not bar somebody from being hired by the state,” Ciaramitaro told Bridge Michigan. “You still can’t use marijuana on the job, you can’t be intoxicated while working.”
Commissioner Jeff Steffel, a former Michigan State Police trooper, supported the change but had reservations.
“Why is the work done by our state employees any less important, in terms of marijuana impairment, than what it is for police officers, nurses?” he said, adding that he’s “not sure he wants to introduce that into the state workforce.”
Michigan won’t be the first state to address discrepancies between requirements for government hires and marijuana legalization laws. Nevada and Washington have similar limits in place on marijuana screens for new hires, and several other states, including California, have approved measures barring employers from banning off-hours marijuana use as a condition of employment.
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