Allowing Employee Medical Marijuana Use Can Be a Reasonable Accommodation

On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Massachusetts’ general anti-discrimination law, which is almost identical to the Illinois Human Rights Act, requires employers to reasonably accommodate their employee’s off-site use of medically prescribed marijuana and prohibits employers from terminating employees solely because they use medical marijuana outside the workplace. Barbuto v. Advantage Sales & Mktg., LLC, 477 Mass. 456 (Mass. 2017). The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, better known as the Illinois Medical Marijuana Law, went into effect on January 1, 2014. See 410 ILCS 130/1. At that time, Illinois was the twentieth state to de-criminalize marijuana for medical purposes. Now, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and another 12 states have legislation pending to legalize medical marijuana. Four of the 29 states and the District of Columbia went further and legalized recreational marijuana. While the trend is to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, making the use, sale, and possession of marijuana illegal under federal law. 21 U.S.C. § 812.

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Julie Bruch has written several items for The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel Quarterly (IDC Quarterly). The excerpt above is from the original publication. Follow the link above to read the entire article.

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