Medical marijuana, extra widespread than ever, might nonetheless price you your job in Illinois

2021-10-13 22:13:33

CHICAGO (WLS) — Medical marijuana is extra widespread than ever in Illinois, even if leisure marijuana has been authorized for greater than a yr. Actually, information signifies the spike in medical marijuana utilization could also be due to leisure marijuana, which is taxed at a a lot greater fee.

However it’s additionally a useful resource for medical doctors and sufferers fighting persistent circumstances and trying to keep away from utilizing opiates.

“My thought course of is, for those who can scale back opiates, if you can begin dwelling your life extra, then it is a fantastic remedy,” mentioned Dr. Rahul Khare, Progressive Categorical Care.

Some medical doctors insist the rise in medical marijuana customers displays rising demand for efficient and legit ache remedies; Khare mentioned he has licensed greater than 13,000 Illinoisans for medical marijuana within the final 5 years.

In line with the newest statewide information, persistent ache and post-traumatic stress dysfunction prime the record of causes to acquire a medical marijuana card. The report additionally notes the state noticed a soar of greater than 30% within the variety of new sufferers signing up for an Illinois hashish card in 2021, with the biggest proportion of latest sufferers between the ages of 31 and 40.

However medical and leisure marijuana customers face a standard dilemma: probably shedding their jobs for utilizing a authorized substance.

“How will we defend workers who’re utilizing this authorized substance when it stays of their system for as much as 30 days?” mentioned Rep. Bob Morgan (D-IL 58), one of many authentic architects of the state’s medical marijuana legislation. “So, this isn’t a brand new subject, however definitely is way greater now that we’ve a bigger pool of people in Illinois who’re legally utilizing the substance.”

Some corporations proceed to implement a zero tolerance coverage for all workers who check constructive for marijuana on drug checks, even when they’ve a medical marijuana card.

“They really employed me after which they fired me,” mentioned Cindy Andere.

The 35-year-iold is a registered nurse and a registered medical marijuana affected person. In August, she deliberate to start out a brand new job at Silver Cross Surgical procedure Middle in New Lenox, however acquired a letter from them informing her she failed their drug screening, which they mentioned is a situation of her employment.

“They handled me like I used to be a prison,” Andere mentioned. “They handled me, they made me really feel like I used to be a junkie.”

Andere suffers from a Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue dysfunction that causes debilitating persistent ache. She is prescribed medical hashish for the ache, and she or he mentioned she solely makes use of it when she’s off the clock.

“It provides me, I believe actually, the higher high quality of life than lots of prescribed drugs. There may be little or no unwanted side effects for me, personally. I even have extra vitality with it,” she mentioned.

Andere has filed for incapacity discrimination with the Illinois Division of Human Rights. The Individuals with Disabilities Act gives no safety in Illinois as a result of marijuana stays unlawful on the federal degree.

“I informed them on my software I used to be disabled, and so for them to not give me every other choices, I felt that was one thing I actually wanted to carry to mild,” Andere mentioned.

In an electronic mail, a spokesperson for Silver Cross Surgical procedure middle mentioned they “decline to touch upon pending authorized issues.”

Andere’s lawyer mentioned circumstances like hers are rising because the patchwork of marijuana legal guidelines and insurance policies haven’t but been challenged in state courts.

“Persons are past confused,” mentioned employment lawyer David Fish. “Individuals name us up and often their first response is, I appeared on the web and marijuana is authorized and it says in there I am unable to be fired for utilizing it at work, after which we’ve to clarify that there is this legislation that claims one thing a bit of bit completely different.”

“I believe we have to clear it up, it is lengthy overdue. It is impacting lots of people,” mentioned State Rep. Bob Morgan.

Morgan has launched laws to problem Illinois legislation so most staff or job seekers wouldn’t be punished after testing constructive for low ranges of marijuana, whether or not leisure or medical.

“This legislation would change the burden within the sense that the person who fails a drug check alone mustn’t lose their job, and shouldn’t be refused a chance to work someplace” he defined. “Until you present impairment, you may’t be discriminated in opposition to within the office.”

The attain of state legislation will be limiting, and including to the confusion is that employment safety for hashish customers could not apply to federal positions and safety-sensitive jobs, resembling these in transportation, manufacturing and well being care.

Employment consultants say many corporations are sticking with conventional drug screens for legal responsibility and security causes as properly.

“Now we have at all times been a drug free, work secure setting,” mentioned Joyce Johnson, president and CEO of Anchor staffing in Chicago.
Johnson’s firm gives contigent employess for quite a lot of corporations. “Numerous companies will simply say ‘We do not care if it is federally authorized or state authorized, it isn’t our firm coverage, they need to go a drug display and so they can’t come again constructive with hashish.’ And I believe that is what lots of companies are going beneath, simply to ensure it is truthful.”

Andere mentioned her use of medical marijuana at dwelling doesn’t intervene along with her skill to be nurse at work.

“If it takes me being the instance to vary insurance policies or change a legislation, then I am all for it as a result of I am keen to face up for what is true,” she mentioned.

With the steadily rising numbers of licensed medical marijuana cardholders in Illinois and the legalization of leisure marijuana, nevertheless, medical doctors and lawmakers are stressing the important want for corporations to rethink drug testing insurance policies.

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