Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Michigan so can I get workers’ comp if I smoke weed?
Michigan voters approved use of recreational marijuana in 2018. Individuals can now smoke pot without fear of state or local criminal prosecution. Medical use of marijuana has also been legal since 2008. It remains illegal under federal law and progress has not been made on that front. A common question we get asked is can I get workers’ comp if I smoke weed? The answer is yes, no, and maybe. Keep reading for our breakdown of this complicated law. Please remember that every situation is different, so it is best to speak with an attorney directly.
Workers’ comp benefits are still available if you smoke weed
Michigan workers’ comp benefits are still available if you smoke weed. It pays for medical treatment and lost wages and testing positive for marijuana use is not enough to dispute payment of these essential benefits. Watch out for employers who take advantage and scare employees into not making a claim.
You will not get workers’ comp benefits if intoxicated
Our clients frequently get drug tested after a workplace accident. This is standard procedure for most employers, and it should not be taken personally. Drug use in the workplace can be used to dispute payment of workers’ comp benefits. Employees who are intoxicated when they get hurt are not entitled to any benefits. This is considered misconduct under Michigan law and excuses the employer from having to pay. Simply failing a drug test should not be an automatic disqualifier. Evidence must show intoxication at the time of accident.
Maybe you get workers’ comp if a drug policy is not strictly enforced
We have also seen employers take a very hard position against recreational marijuana in the workplace. Failing a drug test can result in termination of employment. Wage loss benefits can be disputed based upon termination. The idea is that an employee could have been working under restrictions but for their marijuana use. Employers who do not have a strict policy against marijuana will have a hard time using this defense. Medical benefits should be paid regardless.
Disputes after failing a drug test
As stated above, workers’ comp benefits are still available if you smoke weed and you test positive for marijuana use. Watch out for employers who use a failed drug test as a pretext to dispute payment of workers’ comp benefits.
We once had an employer admit on cross examination that he smoked weed before starting his workday. Unless there is a strict drug policy against marijuana use, you can still get workers’ comp benefits.
Where to get help if workers’ comp benefits are denied
Issues with smoking weed and workers’ comp are going to be raised for years to come. It will be interesting to see how courts deal with these cases. Check our Michigan workers’ comp blog regularly for additional legal updates. Please call if you feel workers’ comp benefits have been unfairly denied.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.