Employers Struggle With Uncertainties As Illinois OK’s Medical Marijuana


Marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois as a prescription painkiller, but that doesn’t mean patients who test positive for pot can’t be fired from jobs, says the Chicago Tribune. At the same time, employers will not be able to discriminate against workers or applicants on the sole basis of their status as medical marijuana patients. The legalization of medical marijuana Jan. 1 presents thorny workplace issues, especially because federal law bans marijuana use.

Employers are struggling to reconcile their drug policies with the new right to get high. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has held a dozen webinars on the matter, and all have sold out. Human resource managers are wrestling with such questions as whether employees who use marijuana before they come to work might be too impaired to do their jobs, what they are allowed to ask job candidates and whether they can punish someone for engaging in what is now deemed legal activity. “I’m still seeing a lot of confusion over the law,” said lawyer Tom Posey.

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