ILLINOIS: Gov. Patrick Quinn signed into effect Illinois’ version of state laws allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Entitled the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act,” Illinois now joins almost two dozen other states who allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Touted as one of the most restrictive medicinal marijuana use laws in the nation, the law is a pilot program and will be automatically repealed after four years.
Based upon legislative findings that show the therapeutic value of marijuana use, the law allows registered users to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days from a registered, licensed dispensary which obtains the drug from a registered, licensed intrastate cultivation center. Various provisions of the law will be enforced by the Departments of Public Health, Agriculture, and Financial and Professional Regulation. The law provides physicians, registered patients and caregivers, and registered dispensing organizations and cultivation centers immunity from arrest and prosecution or penalty. The law prohibits, among other things, the possession or use of cannabis in vehicles, on school grounds or in public places.
Regarding employment, the law expressly provides that it does not prevent a private business from restricting or prohibiting the medical use of marijuana on its property. The law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual who is a registered user or caregiver, and this discrimination would cause the employer to violate or lose a benefit under federal law. The law also provides that no employer shall be denied any state benefits for employing a cardholder. The Act expressly maintains that health insurers are not required to reimburse a person for the costs of medicinal marijuana use,
The law specifically provides that an employer may adopt reasonable rules relating to the use of medical marijuana. An employer is not prohibited from enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero-tolerance, or a drug-free work place, provided the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner. The law also provides that an employer may discipline a registered user for violating a workplace drug policy, or for failing a drug test, if the failure to impose discipline would put the employer in violation of federal law or cause it to lose a federal contract or funding.