AG Nessel argues those fired for marijuana use should still be eligible for unemployment

Michigan
Dana Nessel

FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, two notorious conservative operatives were charged Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 with felonies in connection with false robocalls that aimed to dissuade residents in Detroit and other U.S. cities from voting by mail, Michigan’s attorney general announced. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed an amicus brief to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission on Monday that argues that a person fired for marijuana use outside of work is still eligible for unemployment benefits.

The brief addresses three cases that deal with employees fired for marijuana use and whether or not they should be qualified for unemployment insurance.

Nessel cites the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan in 2018 as “affirming an employee’s right to maintaining unemployment benefits if that [cannabis use] is the sole reason they were fired.”

“The People reserved for themselves the personal freedom to consume and cultivate marijuana, and the State cannot deprive an individual of unemployment benefits for simply engaging in this legal activity. Employers still generally retain their ability to hire and fire at will, but Michigan employees need not question whether their legal, off-duty conduct will leave them without unemployment benefits should an employer exercise that ability. Arguments to the contrary hinge on outmoded understandings of marijuana that the People of Michigan have rejected, once and for all,” Nessel’s brief says.

A copy of the full amicus can be found here.

 “The people spoke loud and clear when they voted in 2018 to legalize marijuana once and for all,” Nessel said. “Nobody over 21 can be penalized or denied any right or privilege solely for legally using marijuana, and employers cannot control their employees’ private lives by calling the legal use of marijuana outside of work hours ‘misconduct’.” 

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