Prospective employees for most state jobs in Michigan are no longer required to undergo a cannabis screening test as part of the application process.

The changes to this long-standing policy were unanimously approved by the Michigan Civil Service Commission and have now taken effect.

Prior to the rule change, individuals who had tested positive for cannabis during the screening process were barred from applying for another state position for at least three years. Those individuals are now eligible to reapply immediately for state employment.

In a statement following the vote, Commission Chair Jose Bolger said Michigan state policy would now treat cannabis use along the same lines as with alcohol.

“It will no longer be screened for employment, but individuals will not be allowed to be under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana while on the job. They may be subject to testing if there is reasonable suspicion of being under the influence,” he said.

Cannabis screening in Michigan remains mandatory for certain state jobs that require driving or for those that apply for positions in law enforcement or healthcare services. As such, state jobs are now designated as either test-designated or non-designated.

NORML’s deputy director, Paul Armentano, who provided written testimony to the commission, welcomed the rule change.

“Policies that mandate would-be hires to undergo urine screens for past cannabis exposure are invasive, discriminatory, and ineffective. They neither identify workers who may be under the influence, nor do they contribute to a safe work environment,” he said.

Michigan is the latest US jurisdiction to introduce greater workplace protections for employees who use or have used cannabis.

Nevada and Washington have both enacted similar legislation to restrict pre-employment cannabis testing, as have various municipalities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Montana, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island have gone even further by restricting marijuana testing for existing employees as well as prospective employees.

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