On June 25, 2019, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker signed into regulation the Illinois Hashish Regulation and Tax Act (aka the Hashish Act), which is ready to enter impact on January 1, 2020, becoming a member of 10 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington), and the District of Columbia in legalizing leisure use of marijuana. This new regulation makes it authorized to buy and eat cannabis within the state of Illinois and consists of protections for workers who select to make use of cannabis whereas away from the job. In mild of those protections, Illinois employers ought to take affirmative steps to make sure compliance and to keep away from missteps.


When the regulation goes into impact on January 1, 2020, it is going to be authorized for people age 21 and over to buy, possess, and eat cannabis throughout the state of Illinois, with out the specter of arrest or felony prosecution and with out the necessity to receive a prescription. Pertinent to employers, the regulation amends the state’s Proper to Privateness within the Office Act (which makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in opposition to staff to be used of “lawful merchandise”) to incorporate any product that’s “authorized beneath state regulation” — together with cannabis pursuant to the Hashish Act. On its face, the regulation makes it unlawful for employers to refuse to rent or discharge any particular person, or in any other case drawback a person, with respect to compensation, phrases, circumstances or privileges of employment just because that individual used cannabis exterior of labor. Pursuant to the Proper to Privateness within the Office Act, violations would allow an worker to get well precise damages, in addition to penalties, prices, and lawyer’s charges for willful and understanding violations.


The regulation permits employers to self-discipline and/or terminate an worker on the idea of the worker’s impairment within the office — i.e. employers can nonetheless take motion in opposition to staff whom they consider to be impaired or beneath the affect of cannabis within the office. In line with the regulation, the employer should have a “good religion” perception that the worker:

manifests particular, articulable signs whereas working that lower or reduce the worker’s efficiency of the duties or duties of the worker’s job place, together with signs of the worker’s speech, bodily dexterity, agility, coordination, demeanor, irrational or uncommon habits, or negligence or carelessness in working tools or equipment; disregard for the security of the worker or others, or involvement in any accident that ends in critical harm to tools or property; disruption of a manufacturing or manufacturing course of; or carelessness that ends in any harm to the worker or others.

Observe that this listing refers to “particular, articulable signs,” which means the employer’s good religion perception should be based mostly on bodily commentary of the worker slightly than check outcomes alone. The implications of this are twofold — (1) Employers can’t merely depend on a optimistic drug check outcome with a purpose to set up a very good religion perception that the worker is impaired or beneath the affect of cannabis (though a optimistic check outcome would certainly be helpful to strengthen the assumption); and (2) that being the case, employers want to have the ability to establish, doc, and articulate outward indicators of impairment from cannabis use. Coaching supervisors and staff on methods to spot indicators of cannabis impairment and establishing insurance policies for reporting and documenting these observations would finest place employers to lawfully take motion for impairment. Importantly, nonetheless, if opposed motion is taken in opposition to an worker, beneath the brand new regulation the worker should be supplied an affordable alternative to contest the idea of the dedication.

Employers can nonetheless keep a “cheap” drug testing and nil tolerance drug coverage, however with this new regulation, most often such insurance policies needs to be revised to ban impairment or use/possession of cannabis whereas on the job slightly than a blanket, zero tolerance prohibition in opposition to cannabis use. Much like Illinois’ medical marijuana regulation (the Compassionate Use of Medical Hashish Pilot Program Act), the Hashish Act explicitly supplies that it doesn’t affect an “employer’s means to adjust to federal or State regulation or trigger it to lose a federal or State contract or funding.” This considerably round language relating to federal regulation is vexing with out additional steering, since marijuana remains to be categorized as an unlawful Schedule I managed substance on the federal stage. Within the absence of steering, this language might be learn to permit employers which can be authorities contractors or federal grant recipients to keep up stricter testing procedures and insurance policies, nonetheless, numerous state courts have held that state anti-discrimination legal guidelines should require employers to think about making cheap lodging for medical marijuana customers. Given these drastic modifications, employers are inspired to take an in depth have a look at their inside insurance policies and procedures and revise to:

  • Clarify that zero-tolerance drug insurance policies prohibit possession of marijuana on the worksite and impairment whereas on the job.
  • Present supervisors and staff with coaching and instruments to allow them to identify a cannabis-impaired worker.
  • Clarify to staff and managers the worker’s rights in the case of difficult the employer’s good religion perception of impairment, and the procedures outlining that course of.

A serious query left open by the brand new regulation’s plain language is the continued efficacy of pre-employment drug testing. Because the regulation discusses impairment when it comes to “articulable signs whereas working,” it’s unclear whether or not a pre-employment optimistic drug check alone might function a foundation to refuse to rent or withdraw a suggestion of employment. Thus, in mild of this ambiguity and the potential threat of legal responsibility, employers ought to rethink whether or not pre-employment drug testing stays appropriate for his or her enterprise.

This can be a creating space of regulation each in Illinois and elsewhere across the nation, and it’s unclear how the Hashish Act can be utilized in observe. As employers await clarification from Illinois courts, we’ll proceed to observe authorized developments in leisure cannabis states, together with Illinois, which have addressed anti-discrimination provisions for basic steering, and report again right here.

Supply JD Supra –  https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/illinois-cannabis-regulation-and-tax-42967/