Illinois Amends Recreational Marijuana Statute to Clarify Employers’ Rights

On December 4, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law amendments to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Illinois Cannabis Act) that clarify employer rights to enforce reasonable workplace drug policies once recreational marijuana use becomes legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020.  As originally drafted, the Illinois Cannabis Act created confusion for employers as to whether they could lawfully test and/or discriminate against applicants who tested positive for cannabis, based on pre-employment and off-duty use of the drug.

As amended, the Illinois Cannabis Act specifies that employers do not violate state law when enforcing “reasonable” drug policies that subject an employee or applicant to “reasonable drug and alcohol testing, reasonable and nondiscriminatory random drug testing, and discipline, termination of employment, or withdrawal of a job offer due to a failure of drug test.”  As a result of the statutory amendment, Illinois employers should consider adopting workplace policies and procedures to (1) address work-related possession and use of cannabis and cannabis-infused products, and (2) publish any post-offer or other employment-related drug testing procedures applicable to applicants and employees by the end the year.