Getting stoned and your job

Getting stoned and your job

Hey bud, let’s party!  I still say that it was his greatest role.
Starting on January 1, medical marijuana will be legal in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean getting it will be easy. Illinois’ law is known as one of the strictest of the 20 or so states that have legalized medical marijuana so far. One thing our law addresses is legal marijuana use and the workplace, specifically whether employers have to get on board and allow employees to use the drug.

In order to get medical marijuana, you have to be qualified and registered. Those who get through the red tape will get a card. The law seems pretty clear that employers can’t discriminate against an employee – or penalize them – for being registered to use medical marijuana or for obtaining a registry card.

Employers, can, however, prohibit marijuana use at work and discipline employees for working while under the influence. If the employer is required to comply with federal laws (which still outlaw all marijuana use), those laws trump the state laws. You can still be required to do drug testing and comply with zero-tolerance policies, so long as you aren’t singled out because you are a medical marijuana user.

So, the state of Illinois says you can use medical marijuana, if you’re qualified and registered, and if you have one of the medical conditions that it’s approved for, and if your doctor agrees to certify you. If you make it through all of that, however, you can technically still get fired for using drugs. At least that’s how it seems at this point.

The law goes into effect at the start of the new year, and it will take a while to get the whole program up and running. When it finally does, it will be interesting to see if it causes waves in the workplace or is one of those things that was a big deal for nothing. Either way, like most new laws, it’s going to lead to some litigation.

Of course, the whole problem could be solved if the Feds would just get off their butts and make recreational marijuana legal and taxable.  But that would make way too much sense to ever happen.

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