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Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act

So starting January 1, 2020 the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“Act”) took affect. This legalized marijuana in Illinois for everyone over the age of 21. This will be a very hot topic issue regarding employment law for both employees and employers. The Act is lacking in defining how to prove someone is under the influence of the cannabis compound THC. The main issue is that THC stays in the system days after it is consumed. And the THC stays in the system long after the psychoactive affects subside. This means a person could consume in an edible or smoke marijuana on Friday night after work, be perfectly fine to drive an automobile on Saturday morning, Sunday morning and drive to work Monday just fine. However, that same person could then on Monday morning get in an accident with a work vehicle, have a blood test taken by the police and end up with THC in his system and get arrested and then fired.

It is imperative that employers address procedures regarding whether someone is under the influence of marijuana while at work–and not just the after affects that linger in the system. I project that employment litigation lawsuits based on terminated employees who use recreational marijuana after work will explode. Employers should get ahead of the curve and put smart policies in place now.

For employees, make sure you are aware of your rights and if you get terminated because of marijuana use, know you have rights. Currently, most police are not adequately trained to detect marijuana unless they smell it. There is a good chance after an accident, a blood or saliva test will be implemented and which could cause an unimpaired person to be charged as though impaired.

Another issue will be companies that administer drug tests at work. I believe that you will no longer be able to terminate an employee for testing positive for marijuana if you also don’t terminate an employee who drinks alcohol on the weekends. Yes a person can’t come to work drunk, but the alcohol leaves the system as the person becomes sober. That isn’t the same with THC, therefore, employers need to keep that in mind when putting new policies in place.

My office can draft policies that will be forward thinking, smart and follow the law. Contact my office to ensure you have the right documents and policies in place.

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