Recreational Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation: What Employers Need to Know

With the impending legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois on January 1, 2020, employers are abuzz about the potential implications on their operations, particularly how legalization impacts alleged work injuries. Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employees found intoxicated at the time of an accident are denied compensation if the intoxication was the proximate cause of the injury or if the employee was so intoxicated it constituted a departure from the employment. 820 ILCS 305/11.

The act already considers evidence of intoxication from the use …

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Will the Recently Issued Sessions Memorandum Have a Chilling Effect on States’ Plan for Legalization of Medical and Recreational Marijuana?

During the Obama administration, a memorandum issued by then deputy attorney general James M. Cole in 2013 dealt with the issue of federal prosecution of alleged crimes involving marijuana in states where it was a legal substance either for medical use, recreational use, or both. The memo seems to grant broad latitude to exercise prosecutorial discretion in states where marijuana had been legalized. The memo was interpreted as a hands-off edict rather than the guidance it was supposed to embody.

For several years, the states …

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