IL Employers May Have to Revise Drug Screenings To Comply With New Cannabis Legalization

By Benjamin Cox on November 28, 2019 at 9:57am

Employers in the State of Illinois may have to revise their drug screening policies during hiring processes and employment to comply with follow up legislation to Illinois’ legalization of recreational marijuana.

New cannabis laws allow employers to maintain a drug-free workplace, but could conflict with Illinois’ Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act. The Act says that an employer can’t discipline a worker solely for doing something legal while outside of work. In other words, employees must be impaired before an employer can punish a worker at the work site, not simply test positive for cannabis in a drug screening. The Act also allows workers the right to an appeal process.

Some employers may also be compelled to stop the pre-employment screening process for cannabis. One exception would be testing for employees who are federally-licensed workers, such as truck drivers who need a commercial driver’s license, for instance. Because cannabis is still a federally-prohibited narcotic, a failed drug test means those employees could lose their license. However, the House of Representatives recently passed legislation that may take cannabis off the narcotic schedule, thus making it a legal drug in the entire country.

Illinois Recreational Cannabis law will take effect on January 1st.