Welfare recipients in Michigan could soon forfeit their benefits if they do not remain drug free. Earlier this week, the Michigan House approved a pilot program that would force “suspicious” individuals to submit to random drug tests in order to maintain their benefits.

While the idea of testing the state welfare population for drugs has been a hot topic of discussion in the legislature for sometime, the state’s move will require the Michigan Department of Human Services to experiment with the concept for a year in a minimum of three counties before it can be considered a permanent fixture to the law.

The goal is to ensure tax dollars go to people who need it without supporting deadbeats ripped up on dope. It is a potential $750,000 investment for the state, but supporters argue the program could end up paying for itself.

Welfare recipients testing positive for drugs, with the exception of medical marijuana patients, would be forced to undergo a substance abuse program in order to remain in the program.

A similar measure was passed in 1999, but a federal court ruled the effort was unconstitutional and a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. It remains unclear just how well the latest version of the pilot program will go over.

Update (12/12/14): The Senate has also approved the bill, which now moves on to Governor Snyder for final approval. His reps have said he has not decided whether he will sign the bill until he has reviewed it further.

Update (12/26/14): Governor Snyder signed the bill into law.

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