Rolling Meadows, IL – October 1, 2019 — InOut Labs president Tim Thoelecke was one of three featured speakers at a program entitled “Cannabis Legislation in Illinois and Your Workforce” hosted by DSP Insurance. The program, provided to DSP clients, was an in-depth look at how the legalization of marijuana in Illinois will impact employment policies and procedures. Illinois’ recreational marijuana law becomes effective January 1, 2020.

Other presenters included George Klauke, founder Klauke Law Group LLC and Peter Gillespie, an employment attorney and partner at Laner Muchin.

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Thoelecke kicked things off by providing background on the history of employee drug testing, including some statistics about workplace safety and drug use. He discussed detection windows for various drugs and specimen types, and described the medical review process. When it comes to marijuana, an MRO will follow federal law and always report a positive result.

Klauke’s presentation centered on the history of workers compensation claims in Illinois and the standard of proof for impairment. With the new Illinois marijuana legalization law, employers should be prepared to experience more claims, and it’s incumbent upon employers to make sure they have a firm understanding the risks and responsibilities, and be prepared to defend themselves should an impaired employee be involved in a workplace accident.

Gillespie helped attendees better understand the issues they will face in 2020 regarding the many employment issues created by marijuana legalization and possible affects marijuana legalization may have on Americans With Disabilities Act and OSHA requirements. Because the Illinois marijuana legalization law also modified the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, there are meaningful implications when it comes to testing for marijuana. There is specific language in the Illinois marijuana legalization law for identifying employees who may be impaired at work and employer must be prepared to document specific, articulable symptoms” should they suspect an employee is impaired.

The general takeaways are that all Illinois employers should update their substance abuse policies before January 1, 2020 to address the recreational marijuana law. In Illinois in 2020, a pre-employment drug that is positive for marijuana will merely identify legal off-duty behavior. Some employers will continue to test, and others will not. Also, DOT-regulated employees (such as CDL drivers) are unaffected by the new law.

InOut Labs offers affordable training for supervisors to recognize impairment in the workplace:

For more information on drug testing (with or without marijuana), contact InOut Labs at or 847-657-7900.