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Mich. Employers Confused by New Medical Marijuana Law

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Employers in Detroit, Mich., are struggling to make sense of the state's new medical-marijuana law, the Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 9.

The law, which took effect in April, draws distinctions between whether someone “smokes” or “ingests” marijuana, and also has confusing language about whether users of medical marijuana are protected from disciplinary action, according to Kurt McCamman, an attorney with the law firm Miller Canfield in Detroit.

The U.S. Justice Department decided in October not to press charges against medical marijuana producers and users in states where medical use is legal. 

“That's a very significant retreat from federal policy,” said Mark de Bernardo, who heads the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace. “Marijuana is a dangerous drug that detrimentally affects the workplace. It has impacts on health care costs, productivity, accidents and employee turnover.”

Steven Karapandza, 28, who is a registered medical-marijuana user in Michigan, said his use of the drug is none of his boss' business since he doesn't smoke at work or show up for work high. “In my mind, it's like any other medication,” said Karapandza. “You wouldn't go up to your boss and tell him you've got a prescription for Vicodin.”

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