Illinois was the first state to legalize marijuana and launch a retail system for adults through an act of legislature back in 2019.
In 2021, the state brought in over $1 billion in sales for recreational cannabis products.
This week the Illinois House has approved workplace protections for cannabis consumers.
Adults in the state who use legal cannabis during their free time would be protected from losing their jobs under a bill approved by the state’s House of Representatives.
The measure, which now proceeds to the Senate, would prohibit most employers from firing workers or discriminating against job applicants merely for testing positive for marijuana use, with some exceptions.
“If we’re going to legalize the substance, you should talk about individual liberties and what people want to do on their weekends,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bob Morgan (D) told local NBC affiliate WGEM ahead of voting. “We should allow people to make good choices and not be discriminated against in the workplace because of those choices as long as it’s not affecting the workplace.”
Morgan’s workplace protection legislation contains exceptions for certain categories of employees, such as those where heavy machinery or aircraft is operated and those where the worker has to carry a weapon, perform emergency services or perform other safety-sensitive tasks. Companies could also still fire employees for being impaired by cannabis while at work.
“We don’t believe that the bill is perfect. I think we are going to continue to work on the safety-sensitive position in the Senate,” said IMA’s government affairs director, Donovan Griffith. “But, to that point, Rep. Morgan has been working with the business community tirelessly. I believe all of the amendments he has made up to this point…have been done at the request of the business community.”