Michigan’s Legalization of Marijuana May Affect Workers’ Compensation

As of December 6, 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Even though marijuana is now legal for recreational use, there are stipulations to this law that you and your employees need to be aware of:

  1. You cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana
  2. Marijuana cannot be used openly in public
  3. Recreational use is only legal for adults 21 years or older

Here’s where things get tricky.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Substance Act.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

This means that marijuana is illegal under federal law.

In addition, you can still prohibit its use in your workplace despite the new Michigan law.

According to Michigan Legislature,

This act does not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this act in any workplace or on the employer’s property. This act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marihuana. This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marihuana.

How Does This Affect Workers’ Compensation?

Let’s say you have a strict policy in place that prohibits marijuana use while working.

An employee disregards this rule and uses marijuana while working.

Your employee is now under the influence of marijuana while on the job.

As a result, your employee has a workplace accident or injury.

According to Michigan.gov, an employee may not be eligible to receive workers’ compensation, “If the worker is injured as a result of his or her “intentional and willful misconduct,” he or she is not entitled to benefits.”

That’s not all.

Michigan.gov also says that injuries resulting from the employee’s violation of your “clearly announced and regularly enforced” rules eliminate entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.

It’s important to discuss with your employees and HR team how you would like to address marijuana use. This will help everyone to be on the same page and potentially avoid any lawsuits and claims.

At Allied, we want you and your employees to be aware of new laws that can impact you both.

If you have any questions or concerns about workers’ compensation, feel free to contact us.

Disclaimer

Allied Insurance Managers’ blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. Allied Insurance Managers does not warrant any statements in this blog. Any statutes or laws or coverages cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct your legal questions to experienced counsel and specific coverage questions to your insurance carrier or independent agent.

 

 

 

 

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