In 2008 Michigan voters approved the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”), which addresses “potential state prosecution or other potential state action–the MMMA says nothing about private employment rights.”1)Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 764 F.Supp.2d 914, 922 (W.D. Mich. 2011). This quote is taken from Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The plaintiff, Mr. Casias, was fired from his job at Wal-Mart after failing a drug test. Casias was a registered MMMA patient and sued Wal-Mart for wrongful discharge. At issue in the case was a clause in the MMMA: “[a] qualifying patient who… possesses a registry identification card shall not be… denied any right or privilege, including… disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana…”2)Id. at 922 (quoting MCL 333.26424(a)). Mr. Casias argued that this clause prohibited any business from taking disciplinary action against someone who used marijuana in accordance with the MMMA.
Judge Jonker, who wrote the opinion, pointed out that “business” in this clause modified “licensing board or bureau.” So the MMMA only limits the actions of state entities, including business licensing boards and bureaus. The MMMA does not limit the actions of private employers.
Casias was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.3)Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (6th Cir. 2012). These federal courts’ conclusions are consistent with decisions made by state courts in states with medical marijuana laws that are similar to Michigan’s.4)Holi L. Hartman, “Medical Marijuana in the Workplace,” Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Feb. 15, 2013, http://www.dritoday.org/feature.aspx?id=510. The only cases where state medical marijuana laws were held to give medical marijuana patients a cause of action against employers were in Arizona and Rhode Island, whose medical marijuana statutes specifically provided employment protection for patients.5)Id.
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|1.||↑||Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 764 F.Supp.2d 914, 922 (W.D. Mich. 2011).|
|2.||↑||Id. at 922 (quoting MCL 333.26424(a)).|
|3.||↑||Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428 (6th Cir. 2012).|
|4.||↑||Holi L. Hartman, “Medical Marijuana in the Workplace,” Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Feb. 15, 2013, http://www.dritoday.org/feature.aspx?id=510.|