Recreational Marijuana

Earlier this month, Governor Pritzker signed into law SB 1557, revising the Recreational Cannabis Law to expand permissible marijuana testing and related adverse action.

The Original Legalization Bill As Enacted

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705) (the “Legalization Act”) legalizes recreational cannabis for Illinois adults starting January 1, 2020. The Legalization Act specifically allows Illinois employers to enforce “reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.” The Act also permits employers to prohibit employees from being under the influence of or using cannabis in the employer’s workplace or while on call. Further, the Act (i) allows employers to discipline or terminate an employee who violates the employer’s workplace drug policy, and (ii) specifically insulates employers from liability for disciplining or terminating employees based on the employer’s good faith belief that the employee was either impaired at work (as a result of using cannabis) or under the influence of cannabis while at work.
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On June 14, 2018, the Vermont Attorney General released its “Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in the Workplace,” which can be found here. The Guide is aimed at assisting Vermont employers in navigating the state’s new recreational marijuana law, although it also addresses the state’s medical marijuana law, disability discrimination law, and drug testing law.
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As previously reported here, on November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), which allows for, among other things, the recreational use of marijuana. The Act became the first law of its kind in the nation to protect employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana.

Simply stated, the Act prohibits employers from refusing to employ or otherwise taking any adverse action against any person age 21 or older based on that individual’s off-premises marijuana use. However, the Act permits employers to bar the on-premises use and possession of marijuana and to discipline employees for being under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may no longer test job applicants for marijuana. Moreover, according to the Maine Department of Labor, for purposes of a reasonable suspicion drug test, an employee’s positive drug test, by itself, will not be sufficient to prove that the employee is “under the influence” of marijuana.


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On March 9, 2018, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (“CCC”) filed its much anticipated recreational marijuana Regulations with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.  According to the CCC, the Regulations are on track to be published in the Massachusetts Register on March 23, 2018.  The Regulations will become effective upon publication.  While the Regulations are comprehensive in many ways, for most employers the Regulations are most notable for what they lack, namely guidance regarding employer-employee rights and responsibilities.
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On November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), which allows for, among other things, the recreational use of marijuana. The Act contains within it an anti-discrimination in employment provision, which is effective today, February 1, 2018, making it the first law of its kind in the nation because it protects employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana.

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With only a month to Election Day, The Blunt Truth turns its attention to the ballot measures in nine states that would expand legal access to marijuana.  This week we look at two of the five states— Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada —with ballot measures proposing to legalize recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 and over:
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Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at the world of legalized marijuana.

Nebraska and Oklahoma may not have had their day in (Supreme) Court, but they are

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the U.S. is engaged in picking a new President.  Although issues such as immigration, income inequality, foreign policy and religious freedom have dominated the headlines, all the candidates are on record regarding marijuana: its medical uses, whether it should be rescheduled,