Cannabis News Protecting Patients Access to Medical Marijuana
  MMJ Could Challenge Employer Drug Testing
Posted by CN Staff on October 05, 2013 at 18:25:34 PT
By Steve Tarter 
Source: Peoria Journal Star  

medical Illinois -- A new day is coming for Illinois employers. While it may not dawn right away, preparations for the acceptance, understanding and management of cases dealing with medical marijuana are already underway.

In August, Illinois became the 20th state in the country to approve the sale, production and use of marijuana or cannabis, a substance that once had a very different image.

No longer is marijuana viewed as the gateway drug that leads to the descent into drug addiction, a point that made it a leading battleground in the so-called war on drugs, said Peoria attorney Reed Roesler, who held a briefing for area employers last week as part of a joint effort by the AAIM Employers' Association and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce.

"There's been a momentous change both in the use of cannabis and in the approach of law enforcement on cannabis," said Roesler, noting that just 10 years before he'd made a presentation on drug testing in the workplace at the Peoria chamber.

"Early on, if an employer didn't have a drug testing policy in place, it was almost viewed as condoning the use of drugs," he said.

As background, Roesler pointed out that the war on drugs was declared to stem an increase in heroin addiction cases following the Vietnam War.

"By 1996, all that legislative effort to prosecute the war on drugs began to grind to a halt," he said.

"The atmosphere is dramatically different in 2013," said Roseler.

While cannabis is no longer viewed the same way it was in earlier years, employers have to contend with one of the basic tenets of the new law.

"The approved use of cannabis is for people with some kind of disability," he stated, referring to the therapeutic use of the drug for cancer, glaucoma and other conditions.

Just as employers can't single out smokers or drinkers by law - a law that cigarette companies worked to install - employers can't be weeding out those who use medical marijuana, said Roesler.

The medical marijuana law, a pilot program that's initially set up for four years and will probably take at least a year to set up, will require some understanding on the part of employers, he said.

"Like alcohol, marijuana has a different impact on individuals when it comes to impairment," said Roesler.

"Those using medical marijuana are not required to self-disclose," he added.

Roseler explained that the new marijuana law is primarily focused on criminal prosecution rather than what private employers can do.

"By not hiring someone with a medical marijuana card, you're not hiring someone with a disability. That's sure to be challenged," he said.

Despite the law that takes effect Jan. 1, an employer is still in a position to impose a zero-tolerance drug policy, said Roesler.

One thing the new law may do is prompt debate about drug testing by employers, he said.

Steve Tarter is Journal Star business editor.

Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Author: Steve Tarter
Published: October 5, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Peoria Journal Star

CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help    Share on Facebook Share on stumbleupon digg it Share on reddit Share on

Comment #2 posted by afterburner on October 05, 2013 at 21:32:57 PT
Employee drug testing is a scam
"One thing the new law may do is prompt debate about drug testing by employers, he said."

Long overdue.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by ekim on October 05, 2013 at 20:05:31 PT
read about testing baby in MI.

[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment
Name:        Password:


Comment:   [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]

Link URL:
Link Title:

Return to Main Menu

So everyone may enjoy this service and to keep it running, here are some guidelines: NO spamming, NO commercial advertising, NO flamming, NO illegal activity, and NO sexually explicit materials. Lastly, we reserve the right to remove any message for any reason!

This web page and related elements are for informative purposes only and thus the use of any of this information is at your risk! We do not own nor are responsible for visitor comments. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 and The Berne Convention on Literary and Artistic Works, Article 10, news clippings on this site are made available without profit for research and educational purposes. Any trademarks, trade names, service marks, or service names used on this site are the property of their respective owners. Page updated on October 05, 2013 at 18:25:34