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Michigan Ends State Employment Cannabis Testing

Despite being legal since 2018, workplaces in Michigan have been screening potential state employees for cannabis use – with automatic disqualifications for those who test positive.

In a move that would see recreation cannabis treated the same as alcohol, the Michigan Civil Service Commission has now voted to end pre-employment cannabis testing for state-jobs following a month long public consultation and a unanimous vote on the issue.

Employees in state roles will no longer be required to be tested except for healthcare workers, law enforcement employees and those working with heavy machinery.

Additionally, people who have been rejected from roles will now be able to apply for reemployment.

READ MORE: Organigram Blames ‘THC Inflation’ For Growing Losses and Falling Revenues in Q3

Cannabis advocacy group  National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), provided written feedback for the publica consultation, highlighting that conventional urinalysis tests only identify the presence of “inert drug metabolites – non-psychoactive by-products that linger in the body’s blood and urine well after a substance’s mood-altering effects have subsided.”

Writing in May, Deputy Director of NORML, Paul Armentano, stated: “A positive test result for carboxy THC, marijuana’s primary metabolite, provides little if any substantive information to employers. That is because carboxy THC, unlike many other drug metabolites, is fat-soluble. Therefore, it may remain detectable in urine for days, weeks or, in some cases, months after a person has ceased using cannabis. Most other common drug metabolites are water soluble and are undetectable within hours after ingestion.

“In short, a positive cannabis test result does not provide any definitive information regarding an employee’s frequency of cannabis use, when they last consumed it, or whether they were under the influence of the substance at the time the drug screening was administered.”

Speaking to News Now, Michigan Civil Service Commission Chair Jase Bolger, explained: “That’s why I drew the comparison of – if somebody over indulges in alcohol on Friday night, they shouldn’t do it. I don’t think that they should be getting high on Friday night. But Monday morning when they come to work, they’re likely not on the influence of either and so we’re going to treat them the same.”

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