2020 Begins With a Marijuana High in Illinois

How will the 2020 Illinois’ Recreational Marijuana Law Impact Illinois Business Owners and Employers?

Illinois boarded the magic bus this year and enacted legislation that will legalize the consumption of cannabis on January 1, 2020.  Although this law is a long-awaited win for the marijuana loving community, it has brought more questions than answers for Illinois business owners and employers.

Below, MBI’s Drug Screen Coordinator, Nicole Lacy answers five of the most asked questions from our drug screening customers.

What are the requirements for employees to legally consume marijuana in the state of Illinois?
As of January 1, 2020, it is legal for adult employees to consume cannabis in the state of Illinois if employees are age 21 or older.

Can employers continue to conduct drug testing during the on-boarding, pre-employment screening process?
Yes, however employers can no longer deny employment based off positive marijuana results unless required to abide by any federal regulation or federal contract.  It is still illegal federally to consume marijuana.
**If the amendment is approved, adverse action can be taken and employment can be denied based on positive marijuana results.

Can employers conduct drug testing post-accident and for “reasonable suspicion?
Yes, employers can continue to drug test in a post accident or reasonable suspicion situation, as long as employers have “good faith” belief that the employee was under the influence during his/her shift.
*Some signs of “reasonable suspicion” include impaired speech, physical dexterity, agility, coordination and demeanor resulting in irrational or unusual behavior.  Reasonable suspicion can also be acknowledged if the actions of the individual disregard the safety of employees and/or cause an accident.

What happens if an employee tests positive for marijuana after a “good faith” belief was established?
If an employee tests positive for marijuana after a ‘good faith” belief drug screening, before any adverse action can be taken the employer must give the employee time to contest the “good faith belief” prior to termination of employment or prior to any disciplinary action.

Do employers need to update their drug screening policies?
It is strongly encouraged that all Illinois employers review their drug screen policy with an employment attorney.  Employers are still allowed to have a drug free workplace, however employers must remove any verbiage from their drug screening policy prohibiting marijuana use outside of company time and ensure that their policy defines drug free as “while on call or during shift, not nonworking and non-call hours”.  Marijuana will now be covered by the Lawful Product Act and employers cannot ban the use of the substance outside company time.

If you would like more information about MBI Worldwide’s Drug Screening products, please contact:
Nicole Lacy, Drug Screen Coordinator
Email Nicole


DISCLAIMER – MIDWEST BACKGROUNDS, INC. DBA MBI WORLDWIDE CANNOT AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE OR COUNSEL. Although MBI strives to support you with alerts and resources regarding critical compliance matters, please understand that MBI Worldwide CANNOT provide legal advice regarding forms, contracts or compliance topics. Nothing in this article, website or any other communications with MBI Worldwide should be construed as legal advice. If you have legal questions, please consult with legal counsel, who can best advise you on the legalities of obtaining and using consumer reports.

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