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New Bill For Protecting Michigan Workers With Medical Marijuana Cards Introduced

Chuck Coker

  Some Democrats in the state House say people shouldn’t be fired for having a medical marijuana card.  Jake Neher reports.

Medical marijuana could be a big topic of discussion for state lawmakers in 2016.  Bills in the state Senate would create protections for dispensaries and people who use non-smokable forms of medical marijuana, such as baked items and oils.  Now, Democratic Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) has introduced a new bill that would ban employers from firing workers for having a medical marijuana card.  Singh says firings have become a problem in many states where medical marijuana is legal.  “We’re definitely seeing it across the country. And so therefore we know it will happen here in Michigan, if it already hasn’t,” he said.  

Under House Bill 5161 – which is co-sponsored by Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) - patients could be fired if marijuana use interferes with their job performance.  Singh feels the issue of job protections was left out earlier this year when the House passed major changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana system. Singh says he supported those bills at the time.   “But we didn’t really talk about the rights of the individual,” he said. “And that was something that I felt that we should have had a conversation on. Unfortunately, we didn’t. And so that’s why I’ve introduced this bill, to begin that conversation.”  The other medical marijuana bills have long been stalled in the state Senate. But proponents are eyeing a renewed push to pass the legislation in early 2016.

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— Jake Neher is the State Capitol Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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