How Medical Marijuana is Impacting Unemployment Claims

Right now, the use of marijuana in the country is a hot topic. As more states are legalizing it for medicinal purposes, others are moving to legalize it without a prescription. Regardless of your opinion, as an employer, you need to be aware of these changes to your business.

Consider these questions: What if a worker fails a drug test but shows you a prescription, do you view that as a reason for termination? What happens if someone appears under the influence on the job and are let go, but later claim they have a prescription and it was legal?

What used to be cut and dry policies are no more as more states move toward the legalization of medical marijuana. Unemployment insurance claims have also become more complicated with a former employee’s ability to argue the medicinal purpose if they are dismissed due to drug use.

Changes to Unemployment Claims

In the past, firing an employee for testing positive to illegal substances disqualified them from receiving any unemployment benefits. The policies were cut and dry related to drug use, so even an appeal to a denial of benefits was easily beaten.

As that is no longer the issue, you need to have conversations with legal professionals who can help you navigate these changing waters to make sure you aren’t violating rights while maintaining an anti-drug environment.

Stay on Top of State Laws

What you do at your company will reflect the specific laws in your state. For example, Michigan’s medical marijuana law has granted immunity to users from any penalties. This means an employee cannot be fired or face any other punishment due to usage.

Once you know the laws in your state, you may need to adjust your company policies to reflect them. If you have a random drug testing policy, you may need to include a section about what to do if an employee has and uses their medical marijuana prescription. Your legal help will be a valuable asset to determine what needs to be said and how to proceed.

Get the Help You Need with Unemployment Tracker

When the laws affecting unemployment insurance change, trust Unemployment Tracker to make sure you don’t get behind the times. We’re a third-party administrator with the skills and experience to make sure you stay up to date with new laws as well as your current claims. Contact us today to see how you can have a higher level of control over your UI paperwork and costs.