Among the many pieces of legislation passed last week by the Illinois General Assembly was a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Once it is signed by the Governor, the bill will allow Illinois residents over the age of 21 to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. Personal cannabis use will be allowed in most private residences, but not in prohibited areas including any public place or in close physical proximity to underage persons.
The original version of the bill allowed households to grow up to five cannabis plants, but the legislation that was passed limits home cultivation to medical cannabis patients.
With nearly 7 months before the law takes affect, employers should start planning how they will manage this new law with their employees. Employers should consider updating their employee handbooks and policies now, before the law goes into effect.
The new law allows employers to adopt or maintain their zero tolerance, drug-free workplace policies. If not already in place, employers may want to consider policies related to drug testing, and smoking, consumption, storage and use of cannabis in the workplace.
Under the new law employers will have the right to enforce those policies in a nondiscriminatory manner. Additionally, employers will have the right to discipline or terminate an employee for violating their workplace drug policy, subject to an appeals process.
An employer may consider an employee to be impaired or under the influence of cannabis if the employer has a good faith belief the employee manifests specific, articulable symptoms while working that decreases or lessens the employee’s performance of duties or tasks.
Additionally, the law prohibits discrimination against employees for use of “lawful products” like cannabis during nonworking hours.
Source: The Municipal Minutes: post written by Julie Tappendorf, an equity partner at the Ancel Glink law firm in Chicago. She represents clients in local government, land use, social media, and litigation matters.