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What Employees and Employers Should Know Ahead of Vote on Marijuana Legalization

By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer

Vanessa G. Nelson said employers should refer to their policies and procedures governing drug and alcohol use. Nelson is the author of 101 Costly HR Mistakes: and How to Fix Them (Before It’s Too Late)!

The final push is on from both sides of the debate to legalize marijuana.  On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters will go to the polls to vote for or against Michigan Proposal 1, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative. A “yes” vote supports legalizing the recreational use and possession of marijuana for persons 21 years of age or older and enacting a tax on marijuana sales. A “no” vote opposes legalizing the recreational use and possession of marijuana for persons 21 years of age or older and enacting a tax on marijuana sales.

Results from a poll released in September show a majority of Michigan voters support legalization. Support for the initiative appears to be driven by age.  For example, only 37 percent of voters over the age of 65 said they support legalization compared with 79 percent for 18-29 year olds and about 72 percent for 30-39 year olds.

Regardless of the outcome in November, employers and employees must adhere to their company’s policies and procedures governing drug use said Vanessa G. Nelson, president of Expert Human Resources based in Flint.  Nelson said company policies should promote a safe and organized workplace.

“You may have a medical marijuana card, but you cannot violate policy,” said Nelson.  If your company policy is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol, you still cannot use marijuana on the job or be high on the job,” she said.

Nelson also warned that employers have the right to test employees for suspected drug use on the job in accordance with company policies.

“If someone comes to work and is suspected of being under the influence, you have a right to ask them to submit to a drug test. If they fail that drug test then you can follow your procedures on how to deal with that,” she said.

Nelson works with multiple diverse companies, including nonprofit, heathcare, and government organizations to help them maximize human capital, stay compliant and avoid workplace litigation.

 

 

 

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