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Legislation would prohibit companies from refusing to hire marijuana users

man with cannabis cigarette

State Rep. Bob Morgan has filed legislation that would prohibit businesses from refusing to hire or firing workers for testing positive for cannabis.

House Bill 4116 states that an employer may not refuse to hire someone or discipline an employee for a positive drug test for THC as long as it is not affecting his or her work performance. The law would set a minimum level of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, or 10 ng/ml of urine, saliva, or other bodily fluid.

Illinoisans can buy and use cannabis as long as they are older than 21. Even with legal marijuana in the state, companies can still terminate people for using it.

Mark Denzler, of the Illinois Manufacturing Association, said while marijuana is a legal substance in the state of Illinois, businesses have the right to enforce their policies.

"It's important that this legislation does allow for manufacture employers to continue enforcing those drug testing policies," Denzler said. "It's important that this legislation continues to allow an employer's right to refuse hire to anyone who does show impairment."

The legislation would only apply to businesses that do not have any federal contracts because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. The bill would provide exceptions for medical workers who would still be tested for THC.

 

Morgan, who filed the bill, said in a comment to ABC7 this legislation is a way to help protect employees from being unjustly let go.

"How do we protect employees who are using a legal substance?" Morgan said. "This is not a new topic, but it certainly is much bigger now that we have a larger pool of individuals in Illinois who are legally using the substance."

Denzler said protecting businesses and employers is just as important.

"It is important for businesses to maintain their drug testing policies," Denzler said. "Zero tolerance policies and random drug testing are important to maintaining a safe work environment."

The bill sits with the Rules Committee after its first reading in the House.

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