Michigan weighs removing pre-employment drug test for marijuana

Jobs with the state of Michigan may no longer require passing drug tests for marijuana to gain employment.

The legalization of recreational pot along with hundreds of applicants testing positive for marijuana prior to being offered employment have both fed into a proposal to remove the requirement.

Other drug tests for marijuana would still be required if there was reasonable suspicion or after a workplace accident, under the proposed change.

In a letter sent May 12 from the state personnel director to human resources officers, the Civil Service Commission asks any comments about the potential change be sent to its general counsel for review.

Marijuana became legal to ingest for adults following a 2018 ballot proposal.

"In light of these changes, commissioners have requested circulation for public comment of potential regulation amendments to end the preemployment-testing requirement for marijuana for classified employees hired into nontest-designated positions," read the letter.

Drug tests are included in the hiring process for all candidates applying for a job with the state. There are also drug tests for those who require commercial driver's licenses or those that operate heavy machinery, for law enforcement, those who provide health care, those who work with prisoners, those with unsupervised access to controlled substances, and those handling explosive materials. 

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Since 1998, the state has tested for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine.

Since adult-use recreational marijuana was legalized, approximately 350 applicants for positions with the state have tested positive for pot. Under the rule, those that test positive are also barred from applying to a state position for three years. 

A proposed change would offer those individuals amnesty from the three-year rule.