The Michigan Civil Service Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to lift a ban on hiring most state employees who fail pre-employment drug tests for cannabis, MLive reports. Drug screening for cannabis will remain the protocol for state-employed health workers, police, Department of Corrections Officers, and others employed in safety-sensitive positions.
Nearly 350 applicants have failed drug tests for cannabis and have been denied employment since legalization five years ago, according to the Civil Service Commission.
The change also ends current policies banning applicants who previously failed a drug test for cannabis from applying for another state job for three years. All employees may still be subject to testing if it’s believed they are under the influence of cannabis while on the job.
Michigan Civil Service Commissioner Jeff Steffel, a former 28-year state police trooper who voted for the changes, told MLive that he’s “not totally on board” with the reforms.
“Why is it the work done by our state employees any less important in terms of marijuana impairment than what it is for police officers, nurses, etc. So I think it is bad policy to not screen for marijuana and not prohibit those people from being employed.” — Steffel to MLive
Civil Service Commission Member Nick Ciaramitaro told MLive that the change is necessary to comply with the will of voters who approved a cannabis legalization ballot initiative in 2018.
“Whether or not we agree with it or not is kind of beyond the point. Use of marijuana on the job is different than having used it months before you take the test,” he said in the interview with MLive. “It doesn’t make sense to limit our ability to hire qualified people because they took a gummy two weeks ago.”
The new rules take effect on October 1.
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