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Illinois' New Medical Marijuana Law Needs Time To Grow

8.1.13

Chicago Partner Nesheba Kittling provided commentary in the article “Illinois’ New Medical Marijuana Law Needs Time To Grow.”

The article, which appeared August 1 in the Rockford Register Star, as well as various other media outlets throughout the state, reported on the new Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act recently signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

The new law makes Illinois the 20th state with such legislation and officials have said that the Illinois law will be one of the strictest in the nation.

The law spells out nearly three dozen medical conditions — including cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis — that would qualify patients for the drug’s use.

It allows for 22 cultivation centers where the marijuana will be grown and 60 licensed dispensaries.

Employers may face challenges interpreting the law, but most companies maintain drug-free workplaces. Nesheba noted that workplace discipline related to legal use of medical marijuana is likely to hinge on whether employees are determined to be impaired while they’re working.

She compared the scenario to using alcohol, which is legal for employees to use away from work. “Just because people will have permits to use (medical marijuana) doesn’t give them an excuse to come to work impaired.

That can affect their safety or the safety of others. It can affect productivity as well.” She added that  many companies will need to simply tweak their policies related to drug use.

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