Medical marijuana is used by many in Michigan for chronic pain that’s sometimes associated with diseases such as cancer.
However, even if you use medical marijuana legally, there are cases where you could be fired from your job.
According to Capital-area Attorney Matthew Heos, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is the law of the land as far as protections go for those with a medical marijuana card.
“It provides the initial legal immunity under the law as long as that person is acting under compliance,” Heos said.
However, there have been questions raised over the years as to how far those protections go.
“There was a case involving Wal-Mart that went up to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Heos said.
That case was Casias v. Wal-Mart. It involved a Wal-Mart employee in Battle Creek who was terminated in 2009 after testing positive for marijuana in a company drug test.
That employee, Joseph Casias, had a medical marijuana card to treat pain caused by Sinus Cancer and a brain tumor. However, in the end, the court sided with Wal-Mart.
“Essentially, it said that the language in the Medical Marijuana Act does not say that a business can’t terminate somebody for their use, or even being in the system,” Heos said.
That’s not the only hurdle medical marijuana card holders face, either.
Michigan is an “at will” state, meaning employers can fire their workers at any time, and for any reason.
So, employees are literally at the will of who they work for.
“State businesses, I mean, it depends on your employer, whether they have a permissive view or not. But that’s up to the employee,” Heos said.
Lawyers say, for any change to made any time soon, state lawmakers have to get involved.
“There are a couple bills that have been floating around. I know Rep. Sam Singh is putting forward some legislation,” Heos said. “But it would be an act of the legislature to afford workers protections for legitimate legal use of medical marijuana under the state law, and apart from that I don't know that anything is going to change anytime soon.”
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