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Help Wanted in Michigan? Only Those 21 Years and Up Need Apply

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Help Wanted in Michigan? Only Those 21 Years and Up Need Apply

“Help Wanted” signs are becoming familiar sights at most Michigan retailers. As unemployment rates have fallen across the state, and employers struggle to fill vacancies, the influx of students hitting the summer job market may come as welcome news. Unfortunately, would-be adult use marijuana businesses should temper their excitement.  Michigan’s Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act requires employees to be 21 years of age or older.  Specifically, MCL 333.27961(e), provides that: “No marijuana establishment may allow a person under 21 years of age to volunteer or work for the marihuana establishment.” 

Unlike the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008—which permits a person of 18 years or older to obtain a patient or caregiver card—and the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998—which allows persons 18 years or older to serve and sell alcohol (despite the fact that they themselves cannot legally drink it)—there is no similar leeway under the Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. In short, would-be regulated adult use facilities should only hire employees 21 and older, even though that narrows the already-lean job applicant pool and complicates matters for licensed medical facilities that wish to obtain adult use licenses and serve both markets.

Employment laws can be a minefield for new business owners. Licensed facilities should familiarize themselves with their obligations under state and federal employment laws, including:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Establishes a federal minimum wage and rules regarding overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards. Applies to employers whose annual sales total $500,000 or more or who are engaged in interstate commerce.
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - Requires employers to provide job-protected, unpaid leave to employees for certain medical and family reasons. Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) - Prohibits discrimination against employees aged 40 and older. Applies to employers with 20 or more employees.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Prohibits discrimination against employees and job applicants with disabilities and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations that enable qualified applicants and employees to perform the essential duties of the position. Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) - Prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.  Applies to all employers.
  • Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) – Requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave for certain medical, family, and personal reasons. Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
  • Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act - Establishes Michigan minimum wage rate and rules regarding overtime pay. Applies to employers with 2 or more employees.
  • Michigan Payment of Wages and Fringe Benefits Act - Regulates the manner employers pay employees and the permissible deductions from wages. Applies to all employers.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Imposes a penalty on employers that do not offer health insurance to their employees and imposes certain notice and reporting requirements. Applies to employers with 50 or more full-time employees (who work 30 hours/week or more) or “full-time equivalent” part-time employees.

For more information on these laws, or for help with drafting employment applications and policies, please contact Elisa Lintemuth (elintemuth@dykema.com) or your Dykema relationship attorney.