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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Many Questions about Medical Marijuana

Since the state of Illinois' medical marijuana law became effective on January 1, 2014, there have been a lot of questions from local governments as to their authority to regulate medical marijuana, both as a government regulator and a government employer.  The IML recently posted a FAQ on its website to answer some of these questions, which you can read here.  A preview of the Q&A is below:

Q:  Can communities control where cannabis is grown and sold?

A:  There are statutory restrictions on where a dispensary or a cultivation center can be located, including specific distance requirement from schools, day cares, residential uses, and other protected areas.  For example, a cultivation center cannot be located within 2,500 feet of a school, day care, or residential district. A dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or day care or within a residential zone or home.  Local governments can enact reasonable zoning regulations on dispensaries and cultivation centers, so long as the regulations do not conflict with state law.  These regulations might require special use permits and impose reasonable conditions on such permits and restrict the zoning districts in which such uses are located.  The statute prohibits a local government from unreasonably prohibiting the cultivation, dispensing, or use of medical cannabis so an outright ban could be subject to challenge.

Q:  Can communities regulate medical cannabis use by public employees?

A:  The statute does protect certain employer rights as to medical marijuana (section 50).  Although the statute provides only minimal guidance as to the type of restrictions employees can enact and enforce, states that have medical marijuana laws have upheld an employer's ability to regulate, and even prohibit, employees from using drugs or being under the influence of drugs while on the job.  These drug-free workplace policies are very common, particularly in the public sector, and should continue to be enforceable, so long as the policy is enforced and applied in a non-discriminatory manner.

For more, check out the IML's website.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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