Employers, Local Police Worry About Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

Employers, Local Police Worry About Recreational Marijuana in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Chances are still good that Illinois lawmakers will legalize recreational marijuana by the end of the month.

But not everyone is on board with the plan. Business groups and police chiefs from across the state told lawmakers Wednesday in Springfield they’re worried about what the law means.

Jay Shattuck, with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said there will be some workers who just can’t smoke pot because of their jobs.

“Employers must be able to manage their workplace when it comes to cannabis or any other substance that impairs a worker. Whether a worker is at an employer’s physical workplace or engaged in work activities away from their formal workplace,” Shattuck told lawmakers Wednesday. “A couple of examples would be an on-call worker for a hospital. Or people who are traveling for their jobs as salespersons.”

The police chiefs said they’re worried about a spike in people driving while high.

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, said that’s why pot needs to be legal, so lawmakers can set boundaries for how people use it.

“What we’re trying to do is tamp down on that. We can’t create a situation that’s already there,” Hutchinson said. “The way to address that situation is to put barriers and public health education in place to make it more and more difficult for that to happen. Very much the same way we handle alcohol and underage drinking.”

Illinois lawmakers are pushing toward a legalization vote by the end of the month.

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