Hello and welcome back to the ESS blog! We aim to help educate readers in the world of drug testing for employment so that hiring professionals are aware of recent news, trends, and changes in the world of employment screening. Marijuana has been a hot topic the last few years, as decriminalization and legalization have caused sweeping changes to how a company can or cannot drug test. Today we wanted to talk about a recent story in Michigan, where there are current considerations for dropping marijuana drug testing at the pre-employment level.
Let’s break it down
A Proposal to Change
Since 1998, the state of Michigan has tested potential state employees for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. After a 2018 ballot proposal, marijuana became legal to ingest for adults in the state. As of May 12 of this year, the Civil Service Commission asks for any comments about the potential change to be sent to its general counsel for review. This consideration very well could transform into Michigan no longer testing for marijuana prior to employment for state employees.
Why the change?
The obvious answer is the legality of marijuana for common citizens. Much like New York, and other states that have legalized marijuana recreationally, it’s sort of difficult to deny someone rights of employment for not breaking a law. The laws become murky in these early days of legalization for hiring professionals, and it’s always best to ensure you have an experienced background check partner to assist you with regard to compliance and drug testing legalities.
Another reason why this proposal is in effect, and why it may become a reality, is that state employers are still testing prospective employees. Since 2018 when pot was legalized, approximately 350 applicants for positions have tested positive. Under the current rules, these 350 people would be barred from applying for any state position for a minimum of three years. A proposed change would provide those individuals amnesty from the three-year rule.
What it means for employers
Whether you are running a business in Michigan or any other state, it’s time to take a long hard look at your drug testing programs. There are 21 states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Most states provide consumers with state-licensed and regulated sellers, so the reality is, pot is already here. Understanding the ins and outs of your county, state, and federal drug testing regulations is vital for any business owner.
Exceptions & Other Options
Despite the sweeping proposal to remove any and all PRE employment drug testing, this does have some exceptions. Some specific jobs like state police troopers and jobs requiring a commercial license may still require pre-employment testing for marijuana.
2 Types of drug testing that were not mentioned, were reasonable suspicion drug testing and random drug testing. We will have to stay tuned to learn how these types of “post-employment” drug testing will be affected. We could see similar legislation as we did in Washington, where limitations were put in place, but testing can still be conducted if someone appears impaired on the job, to ensure workplace safety.
Need Help with Your Drug Test Program?
If you or someone you know is operating a business and aren’t sure about what you can or can’t do with regard to drug testing, don’t hesitate to reach out! We are seasoned in helping companies make better hiring decisions and are proud to help. Stay tuned here on the blog as well as on Linkedin for more news and updates on the employment drug testing industry!