Michigan AG says people shouldn't be fired for using marijuana outside of work

Updated: Aug 27, 2021


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — People fired from their jobs for using marijuana outside the workplace still should be eligible for unemployment benefits, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a filing before the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission.

The brief was filed Monday and focuses on three cases currently consolidated before the board and says the commission’s ruling will “directly impact many law-abiding Michigan workers who may be terminated for the use of marijuana.”

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Each case deals with whether an employee should be disqualified from collecting unemployment if they are fired solely for using marijuana during their personal time — meaning marijuana was not used on the job or on the employers’ premises, nor did it impair the employee during work hours, Nessel said in a release.

Administrative law judges have reached different results in different cases on whether a person may be disqualified for “illegal drugs” based on their use of marijuana, according to the brief.

But Nessel points to Michigan voters’ approval in 2018 for making recreational marijuana use legal in the state.

“Nobody over 21 can be penalized or denied any right or privilege solely for legally using marijuana, and employers cannot control their employees’ private lives by calling the legal use of marijuana outside of work hours ‘misconduct,’” Nessel said in a release.

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