Kalamazoo County Will Not Test Employees For Marijuana
Well everyone knows that it is now legal to smoke marijuana in Michigan for both recreational and medical purposes. That being said it is also legal to drink in Michigan, is it not.
MLive is reporting that the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners rejected a proposal to add the word “marijuana” to their drug testing policy. The county staff recommended that addition of the word to their current policy which would have allowed them to drug test employees suspected of being high at work.
The defeated proposal stated:
Where management has reason to believe that an employee may be under the influence of a controlled substance, marijuana or alcohol, they may require the employee to submit to breath, urine or blood testing to determine the presence of a controlled substance, marijuana or alcohol
The Commissioners who voted against the proposal were: Ron Kendall, Stephanie Moore, Meredith Place, Mike Quinn, Paul Haag and Tracy Hall.
The Commissioners who voted for the proposal were: Christine Morse, Julie Rogers, Michael Seals, Roger Tuinier, and John Gisler.
The reasons some of the Commissioners voted down the proposal does not really seem to be totally kosher with me.
One of the Commissioners that voted no was Meredith Place who stated
I don’t think we should be making statements that employees are prohibited from being under the influence of legally prescribed medication because I don’t know what under the influence means and by whose barometer?
Being high at work for whatever reason is still being high at work. If by her saying “I don’t know what under the influence means and by whose barometer” means there is no definitive test proving an intoxication level by which the state now believes you are dangerous then I may understand what she is saying.
Another Commissioner, Mike Quinn is concerned about false positives and stated:
I bring this up because I think the manufacturers of the tests have kind of convinced us their tests are very very reliable. They’re doing the best they can, but the high number of false positives on this test just scares me
A couple of Commissioners who voted for the proposal were Christine Morse and Roger Tuinier. Commissioner Morse stated:
You cannot not have a policy in place. You then open yourself to lawsuits -- someone crashes a car, they were drunk, they were high, and there’s evidence they have been, someone can prove that
Commissioner Roger Tuinier seems to understand some of the concerns of his colleagues but stated:
I think this is good, you’ve got to start somewhere
One big concern that all residents of Kalamazoo County should have is liability. Due to the defeat of the proposal MLive is reporting that Kalamazoo County Human Resources Director Kristine Cunningham stated that “county staff has requested a report from a labor attorney about what liabilities the county may face without approving an updated policy to reflect changes in the state law”.
Being high is being high no matter if it is from alcohol, marijuana or an illegal drug. The safety of the other employees and the citizens at large should be paramount. I understand that there are people who believe that current test that detect THC in the blood cannot determine when the person last smoked or how impaired them may be. That can also be said about alcohol, one person could test at a level of 1.0 and still be able to work and drive safely and effectively while others could test at 0.08 and not be able to work and drive safely.
As Commissioner Tuinier stated we have to start somewhere. If someone is suspected of being high then you should be able to test them which would then start a process to determine how high they actually are. How long can THC be present in your body? Well according to the website Med-Health.net that depends on many factors.
According to MLive under Kalamazoo County current policy, “the use of medical marijuana while working or being under the influence of medical marijuana while working is strictly prohibited, and a violation of the drug-free workplace policy will result in discipline including termination”.
Well if you do not test for it then how do you enforce current policy?