The ruling overturned a state commission's previous determination that a Lansing marijuana patient could not receive unemployment benefits after losing her job in 2011 for failing a drug test.
Judge Collette wrote in his decision: “Disqualification from unemployment benefits for use of medical marijuana in conformity with (state law) would amount to an impermissible penalty” and be “contrary to law.”
The Lansing woman, Jenine Kemp, who worked at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, suffers from Lupus and neuropathy and had legally used medicinal cannabis baked into food products since 2010 to combat her chronic pain.
As reported by the Lansing State Journal, Ms. Kemp had been upfront about her medical pot usage with her employers, informing them of it even before her urine test, and when she inevitably failed, she was summarily fired by the hospital.
Once Ms. Kemp was granted unemployment benefits, the hospital appealed to the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, which decided in 2012 that medical pot patients are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
With Judge Collette's reasoned ruling, hopefully Ms. Kemp can receive her long overdue and deserved benefits to get on with her life.