Naperville Business Lawyer Talks About Medical Marijuana and Your Drug-Free Workplace

drug-free workplace, Naperville business law attorneySince November 9, 2015, marijuana has been legally available for purchase by thousands of Illinois residents who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. Of course, to remain in compliance with law, such patients must register with the state and present their government-issued program card before they can make purchases at any of nearly three dozen dispensaries around Illinois. The medical marijuana program has already generated more than $4.4 million in revenue, and, according to reports, is supported by an overwhelming majority of voters in the state.

With the program fully underway now, many business owners around the area may be unsure of how to integrate the rights of registered medical marijuana patients with the idea of a drug-free workplace. Can an employer even maintain a completely drug-free work environment? In my practice, many of my commercial clients have come to me with exactly this question, and the answer, in short, is yes, a drug-free workplace is allowed by law.

Nondiscriminatory Application

The medical marijuana program in Illinois is governed by a law enacted in 2013 called the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The Act lays out eligible medical conditions, the process of obtaining a registration card, limits on the program, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens, law enforcement, and employers. According to the law, employers are explicitly permitted to develop and enforce workplace drug policies of their choosing, including drug-free workplace policies, with disciplinary procedures for failed drug tests. The only requirement is that such policies must be applied without discrimination. Similarly, an employer may not target, refuse to hire, or terminate an employee based solely on his or her registration status with the medical marijuana program.

Impairment Concerns

Employers who choose to permit the medical use of marijuana by registered patients may place reasonable restrictions on such use to ensure workplace and customer safety. An employer must also be vigilant for signs of impairment, as an impaired worker can present a serious danger. If you as an employer know, or should have known, that your employee is impaired, and his or her actions cause damage or injury to another party, you could potentially share liability for the incident. However, your potential liability would be the same regardless of the source of impairment, including alcohol, prescription medication, and other drugs.

We Can Help

As you look toward creating a workplace drug policy that balances your values with your rights and responsibilities under the law, it is important to work closely with an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Our knowledgeable team can help you consider all of the important concerns and draft a plan that protects both you and your company. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule your initial consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.

 

Sources:

KTVI Fox 2

The Southern Illinoisan

Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act