Cannabis in the Workplace

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The Chicago Association of Spring Manufacturers; Schaumburg, IL

On January 1, 2020 the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act went into effect allowing adults over the age of 21 to legally purchase and use cannabis products. On the first day of legal sales, $3.17 million in recreational cannabis was sold, within the first week that number increased to $13 million and on the twelfth day it hit $20 million. In all likelihood that number would have been higher, if the supply was there with many recreational dispensaries having to shut down or limit purchases. In addition to higher sales, the legalization of recreational marijuana resulted in an increased number of emergency room visits due to cannabis use. A doctor at UIC Emergency Medicine reported they were seeing patients who had over indulged on cannabis starting New Year’s Eve and that during each shift he has worked since New Year’s he has seen at least once cannabis-related incident. The doctor attributes it in part to individuals who have not used it in a long time and are now deciding to try it because it’s legal, without understanding the difference in potency, or the higher percentages of THC. For employers, this information is troubling as a study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries and 75% greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative.

During this presentation, Mike Wong, will discuss how the legalization of marijuana impacts your policies and procedures, including hiring process, drug testing, disability accommodations and discipline/termination. Understanding the law itself and different provisions that the law has which specifically address employers is important so that you can understand and limit your exposure to legal challenges and take steps to have a healthy and productive workforce.


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