Illinois Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Illinois Drug Testing Law

The State of Illinois has legislated specific guidelines to encourage employers to promote a drug-free workplace. It also supports the federal government’s drug-free workplace program, which provides an incentive to employers who voluntarily apply for the program and maintain such program. Illinois drug testing and alcohol testing procedures are also governed by the Illinois Human Rights Act and other disability anti-discrimination rules.

Statute of Order

Illinois Compiled Statute 820 ILCS 265/20

Covered Employers

All employers – private, public, government and non-profit organizations – receiving grants or work contracts from the federal government.

Applicant Testing

Pre-employment drug testing is permitted after a conditional job offer has been made.

Employee Testing

Drug testing for employees working under employers receiving funding from the federal government is a pre-requisite for employment.

    Conditions and Methods

    Employers who wish to receive grants from the state and federal government for promoting drug-free workplace are required to comply with the following:
      • Post or publish a written notification of the drug-free workplace policy.

      • Establish an awareness program regarding the harmful effects of drugs to the individual, business interest and to the family of the users.

      • Provide a copy of the policy to each employee and to post a copy in an area accessible to all employees.

      • Statement of sanctions for workers who tested positive.

      • Provide options for treatment, counseling and rehabilitation
      • Drug testing and alcohol testing must be conducted in a manner that does not violate the employees’ privacy, reputation, and dignity as human beings.

      Important Bullet Points

      • Alongside 820 ILCS 265/20 and state laws, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 also provides guidelines regarding drug testing policy in the workplace.

      • Use of tobacco, alcohol and other legal substances outside the work premises are generally tolerated.

      • Applicants may refuse to submit to the pre-employment drug testing. In this case, employers have the right to withdraw the job offer.

      • Public works employees who tested positive for drug and alcohol testing or who refused to submit to testing will be barred from work.

      • Public works employees who have been barred from work may return to work after undergoing routine tests as stipulated by the employers’ substance abuse policy.

      An employee who entered a rehabilitation program may be re-admitted by the former employer if the job position still exists.

      Medical Marijuana Law

      House Bill 1- The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, was signed into law on August 1, 2013, by Governor Pat Quinn. It took effect January 1, 2014. It established a registry program for qualified patients and their caregivers, protecting them from arrest, prosecution or denial of any right or privilege. The law also established cultivation centers and dispensing organizations. It was to be a 4-year pilot program.

      Governor Quinn later signed Senate Bill 2636 on July 20, 2014. It served as an amendment to HB1, allowing children under 18 to be treated with non-smokable forms of medical marijuana for the same qualifying medical conditions listed under HB1. SB 2636 also expanded the qualifying conditions list by including seizures like epilepsy, effective January 1, 2015.

      Another Senate bill, SB10 was signed June 30, 2016. It extends the original 4-year pilot program to the end of July 1, 2020, from the original end date of January 1, 2018. It also adds 2 qualifying medical conditions, namely PTSD and terminal illness.

      Qualifying Medical Conditions

      • Alzheimer's disease

      • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

      • Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia

      • Brain injury and post-concussion syndrome

      • Cachexia/wasting syndrome

      • Cancer

      • Causalgia

      • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

      • Crohn's disease

      • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II)

      • Dystonia

      • Fibrous dysplasia

      • Glaucoma

      • Hepatitis C

      • HIV/AIDS

      • Hydrocephalus

      • Hydromyelia syringomyelia

      • Interstitial Cystitis

      • Lupus

      • Multiple Sclerosis

      • muscular dystrophy

      • Myasthenia Gravis Myoclonus

      • Nail-patella syndrome or residual limb pain

      • Neurofibromatosis

      • Parkinson's Disease

      • PTSD

      • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

      • Rheumatoid arthritis

      • Seizures including those related to epilepsy

      • Severe fibromyalgia

      • Sjogren's Syndrome

      • Spinal cord disease including arachnoiditis

      • Spinal cord injury

      • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

      • Tarlov cysts

      • Terminal illness with a prognosis of fewer than six months to live

      • Tourette Syndrome


      Under section 30 of HB1, Limitations, and Penalties, it is stated that:

      It is prohibited to undertake any task under the influence of marijuana that would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

      Marijuana possession is prohibited in a school bus; on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; in any correctional facility; in a vehicle under the Illinois Vehicle Code Section 11-502.1; in a vehicle not open to the public unless the medical cannabis is secured, sealed and inaccessible while the vehicle is moving; or in a private home that is used to provide licensed child care or other social service care.

      Using cannabis is prohibited in a school bus; on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; in any correctional facility; in any motor vehicle; in a private home that is used to provide licensed child care or other social service care; in any public place where one can reasonably expect to be observed by others; anywhere in close physical proximity to anyone under 18.

      Smoking medical cannabis is prohibited in any public place where one can reasonably be expected to be observed by others; in a health care facility; or any place where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke-Free Illinois Act.

      It is prohibited to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while using or under the influence of marijuana.

      Recreational Marijuana

      Senate Bill 2228 was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on July 29, 2016. This bill decriminalizes the marijuana possession of 10 grams or less. Individuals in possession of this small an amount may no longer be arrested and sent to jail. It is no longer a criminal offense but a civil offense punishable by a fine of between $100-$200.

      As of March 2017, Illinois government officials have proposed House Bill 2353 and Senate Bill 316 with extended marijuana amendments. These motions allow for reasonable possession and consumption of recreational marijuana; however, the bills have not yet been enacted into law.

      Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

      Under Section 50 of HB1, Employment: Employer Liability, it is stated that:

      • (b) "Nothing in this Act shall prohibit an employer from enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero-tolerance, or a drug-free workplace provided the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner".

      • (c) "Nothing in this Act shall limit an employer from disciplining a registered qualifying patient for violating a workplace drug policy".

      Both provisions of HB1 and the new SB 2228 do not in any way interfere with the rights of employers both public and private, to keep their workplaces drug and alcohol-free. Employers who do not already have a drug testing policy in place are completely free to build one that explicitly addresses employee marijuana use while at work or reporting for work while under the influence. Existing drug-free workplace policies remain in effect in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.


      For Further Reading:


      Law applies to physicians, patients, and caregivers

      Quantity Allowed

      Less than or equal to 3 mature or 4 immature plants with a yield of 1oz if usable.

      How Obtained

      Growing is permitted but details not specified.

      Liability Protections

      Physicians: protected from criminal prosecution when recommending Marijuana for medical use in writing Patients and Caregivers: have an affirmative defense if physician advised the use of Medical Marijuana, explained the risks/benefits of use, and if registered with I.D. card.

      Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

      Registry Card required. Must be registered with Hawaii Department of Public Safety. The patient needs written documentation from a physician that use outweighs risks and that the amount permitted will not be exceeded.

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      The material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm BioSciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.