Medical Marijuana & Employers’ Drug Free or Zero-Tolerance Policy
Medical Marijuana and Workplace Drug Policies
In 2013, Illinois became the 21st state to adopt a medical marijuana law (MCPP). This law does not prohibit employers from enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero tolerance, or a drug free work place; or disciplining an employee for failing a drug test.
For instance, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that employers are not required to accommodate their employees’ use of medical marijuana because the federal Controlled Substance Act expressively prohibits it.
The Michigan Appellate Court however has ruled that an employee is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for using medical marijuana outside of work in accordance with state law.
Employees Using Medical Marijuana in Illinois
No Illinois court has yet ruled on whether an employee who is a registered medical marijuana patient can be discharged from employment or receive unemployment benefits for violating an employer’s drug free, zero tolerance policy or for failing a drug test. It appears that the intersection of Medical Marijuana Law, Employment Law and Disability Law will create many scenarios that employers and employees alike may not be prepared for unless employee handbooks and policies are updated to take into account the Medical Marijuana Law.