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Marijuana's legal in Michigan, but employers can drug test for it: What workers should know

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As more and more recreational marijuana dispensaries open around Michigan, and notably in big cities like Detroit, employers are increasingly confronted with questions about how to handle testing employees for cannabis.

Some Michigan employers began reexamining drug testing policies in 2008, when medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan, employment lawyers and staffing firm executives say. The movement to reexamine these policies gained momentum again in 2018, when recreational marijuana was legalized, and again in recent years, as employers have struggled to hire.

One recent example: Last week, the Detroit Free Press reported that the state of Michigan rejected 151 job applicants last year who had already received conditional offers of employment, after they tested positive for marijuana, according to the Office of State Employer, even as it faced a hiring crunch. That's more than triple the 49 failed marijuana tests in 2018, the last year recreational marijuana was illegal under state law, and it's also more than double the 71 failed marijuana tests resulting from the state hiring process in 2021.