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Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal in Illinois

Effective January 1, 2020:  Residents of Illinois who are at least 21 years of age may use, grow, and possess marijuana for recreational use.  The law specifically addresses marijuana in the workplace in that it does not prohibit an employer from:

  • Adopting a reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policy or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use in the workplace or while on call, provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner;
  • Requiring an employee not to be under the influence of or use cannabis in the employer’s workplace or while performing the employee’s job duties or while on call; and
  • Disciplining an employee or terminating employment of an employee for violating an employer’s employment policies or workplace drug policy.


An employer may consider an employee to be impaired or under the influence of cannabis if the employer has a good faith belief that an employee manifests specific, articulable symptoms while working that decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s position. These symptoms or circumstances may include:

  • the employee’s speech, physical dexterity, agility, coordination, demeanor, irrational or unusual behavior;
  • negligence or carelessness in operating equipment or machinery;
  • disregard for the safety of the employee or others;
  • involvement in any accident that results in serious damage to equipment or property;
  • disruption of a production or manufacturing process; or
  • carelessness that results in any injury to the employee or others.


If an employer elects to discipline an employee on the basis that the employee is under the influence or impaired by cannabis, the employer must afford the employee a reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the determination.


Full Text of the Illinois Law


For more information on the legalization of marijuana and whether it affects your state, visit our resource guide at

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