CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – True or false: On Jan. 1, when recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois, adults can smoke weed with impunity, regardless of what their employer thinks.
That depends, says Scott Cruz, an employment attorney at Clark Hill.
He said lawmakers effectively indemnified employees when they approved recreational marijuana for Illinois. They did this by amending the state’s Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, a measure that bars employees from taking action against workers who privately consume lawful products, which weed now becomes.
“If they just know you smoked marijuana three weeks ago, an employee tells and employer that, they can’t take action based on that,” Cruz says.
Here is the catch: Companies can be punitive about marijuana consumption when they plausibly believe an employee’s on-the-job performance is impaired, he says.
It’s one of myriad scenarios that crop up with Illinois’ legalization of marijuana, a drug that is still banned at the federal level.
The state's new experiment, which is expected to bring in millions of dollars in new tax revenue, is the subject of this week's In Depth podcast. It's such a multi-faceted topic, there will be a Part 2 next week.