Illinois Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the private use of marijuana when Governor JB Pritzker signed the controversial bill into law yesterday, June 25th.  Starting January 1, 2020, any Illinois resident age 21 and older may buy and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, or the equivalent amounts of edibles with up to 500 mg. of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The impact on Illinois employers is hazy . . .

Illinois’ “Cannabis Act” provides some of the most extensive workplace protections for employers compared with other similar acts in other states.  The law specifically states that “employee workplace safety shall not be diminished and employer workplace policies shall be interpreted broadly to protect employee safety.”

Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, Illinois employers may still maintain drug-free workplace policies. Similar to alcohol use, an employer may rely on discipline or terminate an employee who is under the influence or using marijuana in the workplace or while on-duty, depending upon your stated Human Resources policies.

For a detailed analysis of the Cannabis Act, and some thought provoking questions to help your company prepare for next January’s effective date, see “Employer Insights:  Recreational Marijuana in Illinois”

Please contact Leslie Morse with questions about your HR compliance as it relates to this new legislation, or 312-654-4251.