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Illinois Employers Confused About Workplace Marijuana Law

Illinois Dispensaries

The legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois, coming Jan. 1, 2014, presents some major workplace issues. The Illinois medical marijuana law sets up a potential clash between a drug-free workplace and patients’ rights.

Employers in Illinois are struggling to conform their drug policies with the new right to use marijuana in Illinois. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has held over a dozen webinars on this matter, all of them have sold out.

Human resource departments are wrestling with such questions as whether employees who use marijuana before coming to work might be too impaired to do their jobs, if they are allowed to ask job candidates about marijuana use, and whether they can punish an employee for engaging in what will be deemed legal activity – just like using prescription drugs.

“I’m still seeing a lot of confusion over the law,” says Tom Posey, an attorney from Faegre Baker Daniels of Chicago. Posey represents businesses with employment-law issues. “There are protections in Illinois for both employers and employees, and that’s where we’re going to see conflict.”