Is it Legal? Answers to Questions on Employment and Hospitality Law

This blog is part of a six-part series answering questions of interest to the hospitality industry. This blog focuses on the use of medical marihuana on hotel property.  Please see our December 14, 2017 article for an introduction to this series of blogs.

The answers below are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. 

  1. Does a hotel have to allow its employees or guests to smoke medical marihuana in the hotel?

A hotel may prohibit its employees from using medical marihuana at work or being under the influence of marihuana while at work. MCL 333.26427(c)(2).

A hotel may prohibit guests from smoking medicinal marihuana in public areas of the hotel because Michigan law prohibits smoking medical marihuana in public places. MCL 333.26427(b)(3)(B).  It is unclear if a guest room in the hotel may be considered a public place.  The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that a person is in a public place for the purposes of MCL 333.26427(b)(3)(B) if they are in a public parking lot, even if they are sitting in a private car. People v. Carlton, 313 Mich. App 339 (2015).

  1. May an employer fire an employee who is injured at work due to an impairment because of the use of medicinal marihuana? Does the employer have to provide worker’s compensation benefits to the injured employees?

An employer may terminate the employment of an employee who is injured at work because of an impairment caused by medicinal marihuana, if the use of the medicinal marihuana is against the company’s policy.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Casias v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 695 F.3d 428, 434 (2012), held that an employee may be fired if they violate the company’s drug policy, including the use of medicinal marihuana.  The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) does not regulate private employment; rather the Act provides a potential defense to criminal prosecution or other adverse action by the state.