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  • Jody McLeod

Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Is Your Company Ready?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

It's a jungle out there for employers.

How does the recent passage of Prop 1, the decriminalization of recreational marijuana use, impact Michigan employers and their workplace? The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (commonly known as RMLA) extends the current protections afforded medical marijuana users to recreational marijuana users in Michigan.

If you're asking what you can do (or not do) to control marijuana use in your workplace, you're not alone. Keep in mind employers still have significant leverage even after Prop 1 is implemented:

  • Employers can still act against drug use that negatively impacts the work environment.

  • Employers are not required to accommodate the use of marijuana.

  • Employers can refuse to hire, can extend discipline, or take adverse employment action (including discharge) against a person who is in violation of their workplace drug policy or is under the influence while at work.

  • Operating motor vehicles while under the influence of marijuana is prohibited under Prop 1.

Tips for getting your company ready for the change.

Now is the time to ensure you adopt, maintain, and enforce a drug use policy consistent with your company’s culture and values.

The following steps can help employers in Michigan respond appropriately to Prop 1:

  • If your company doesn't already have a workplace drug policy, develop one.

  • If you do have a workplace drug policy, review it to ensure its terms are consistent with the new law (e.g., some employer policies currently restrict ‘illegal substances’ in the workplace, but this language would now not include restricting marijuana use because the substance is no longer illegal).

  • Review your company's use of pre-employment drug testing (restricts hires) as well as testing under reasonable suspicion or post-accident (detects and prohibits at-work use).

  • Balance RMLA against your business values and company culture to determine what behaviors you will monitor under a drug policy.

If you still have questions or would like a third party's legal counsel on responding to Prop 1 in your workplace, feel free to contact us at

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