Michigan Government Jobs No Longer Requires Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

November 2, 2023

Michigan residents can breathe easier now if they use marijuana. According to the Michigan Civil Service Commission, pre-employment marijuana screening for state positions will no longer happen. This change is due to an amendment unanimously approved by the Commission in July.

Furthermore, anyone who previously failed this screening and lost their opportunity can request the removal of their employment sanction. The Commission Chair, Jason Bolger, noted that the goal of the change is to treat marijuana usage more similarly to alcohol. He pointed out that employers can partake in alcohol without affecting their work. As such, state workers can also use marijuana responsibly. 

Reform Anticipations

The Commission has anticipated this reform since the opening for public comments in May. The amendment revised the rules concerning Michigan agencies testing for cannabis and other Substance I or II substances. These tests specifically apply to prospective employees. According to the revisions, the “authority shall not require testing for marijuana for a pre‐employment drug test of a new hire to a position that is not test‐designated.”

Certain positions will still require drug screening. These include those calling for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), jobs operating heavy machinery, law enforcement officers (LEO) and corrections workers, healthcare workers, and positions working with controlled substances or hazardous or explosive materials. However, many anticipate that less than one-third of the approximately 48,000 Michigan state jobs will continue to demand testing of candidates. 

However, state employees must understand that they cannot work under the influence of marijuana at work. Doing so is a civil service violation. Furthermore, the agency can request drug tests for employees who they suspect worked while impaired.

Addressed Issues

The Commission also addressed the issue of candidates having tested positive on previous drug tests. Jobseekers who faced rejections and received bans from further applications can request that the agencies lift these bans. Per the added rule, “a person with an active three‐year sanction based on a positive result for marijuana from a pre‐employment drug test for a non‐test‐designated position may request the sanction’s prospective rescission as provided in the regulations.”

In 2022, these drug screenings impacted over 150 applicants. Those affected tested positive for cannabis use, leading to denials even after receiving conditional job offers. The Detroit Free Press brought this information to Michigan’s attention after the state struggled to fill positions in agencies. 

By emailing the proper officials, more than 200 previously rejected and banned applicants can now restore their eligibility to apply for state jobs. These changes likely reflect Michigan’s recent moves to decriminalize marijuana usage. Voters in the state voted in favor of legalizing marijuana usage for adults in 2018. This decision will soon result in legal sales beginning in 2024.

These changes will help many jobseekers to qualify for new types of employment with Michigan’s government. However, it is crucial to understand that marijuana usage is only one piece of the hiring process. One key area to consider is criminal background checks. A great way to ensure your record is mistake-free is to perform a self-background check. A self-check can allow you to review everything your potential employer will see.

Background checks don’t have to be complicated. Try running a self background check today and give yourself a head start.