Michigan no longer requires drug testing for state jobs

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - People looking for a job with the State of Michigan will no longer have to get a drug test for marijuana before they’re hired.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to get rid of pre-employment drug testing for marijuana. Commission Chair Jase Bolger said the amendment to Rule 2-7 will treat recreational marijuana use outside the workplace the same as alcohol use. To Bolger, it’s a change that makese sense.

“That’s why I drew the comparison of, if somebody overindulges in alcohol on Friday night, they shouldn’t do it,” he said. “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 under the influence of either, so we’re going to treat them the same.”

The commission’s amendment also means those who were previously denied employment because of a failed test can re-apply, without being sanctioned by the former three-year wait period. Although he voted for the change along with his fellow commissioners, Jeff Steffel said the amendment brings up valid concerns about employee performance.

“I don’t care if someone uses marijuana. I don’t care about many of the social issues out there; live and let live,” he said. “I do care about performance of state government, and I would like us to continue testing for marijuana, because in three or four years if we find there’s a problem, we can make changes.”

Steffel wasn’t the only one with hesitation. Leading up to the commission’s July 12 meeting, they accepted public comment on their then-proposal from Michigan residents who needed more clarification on how the new rule would be applied. Bolger responded to those written concerns by saying that under no circumstances will state employees be allowed to use marijuana on the job.

Pre-employment testing for marijuana will still be necessary for some state jobs after its implementation on Oct. 1, including law enforcement, healthcare providers and employees operating heavy machinery.

Council for the Michigan Association of Governmental Employees, Peter Neu told News 10 the state worker advocate group agrees with the commission’s vote saying: “We believe the changes appropriately bring Michigan Civil Service Commission regulations in line with laws passed by citizens in Michigan. The state of Michigan currently has a recruitment and retention problem, and we believe the changes will help recruit a wider number of potential employees.”

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