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Local News

Kendall County Board approves revised employee drug policy

Tuesday vote comes before adult use cannabis becomes legal Jan. 1 in Illinois

UPDATED 6:15 P.M. TUESDAY, DEC. 17:

YORKVILLE – About two weeks before adult use marijuana becomes legal in Illinois, Kendall County Board members approved a new drug and alcohol policy for county employees during their meeting this week.

The Kendall County Board voted, 9-1, during their Tuesday, Dec. 17 meeting to approve a revised drug and alcohol use and abuse policy within the county's employee handbook.

According to documents prepared by Mera Johnson, risk management and compliance coordinator for the county, the new drug and alcohol policy is zero tolerance and employees won't be allowed to come to work in possession of or under the influence of drugs. Employees also are not allowed to use adult-use cannabis or alcohol four hours before work and eight hours following a work-related accident or undergoing a post-accident test, county documents said.

The county will also reserve the right to drug test employees for reasonable suspicion or following accidents, according to county documents. Drug testing prior to employment will only apply to safety-sensitive positions within the county.

County Board member Audra Hendrix cast the lone negative vote on the measure. She said she understood the rationale of all drugs, prescription or otherwise, that could impair someone on the job being included in the policy, but she had concerns about marijuana being singled out in the policy and thought the zero tolerance component was enough.

Board members who voted in favor of the policy and other county officials said another part of the purpose of the revised drug policy is to protect employees who use medical marijuana by not penalizing someone for being a qualifying patient for the state's Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

The update comes after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker recently signed a follow-up bill further tightening the initial state law legalizing adult use marijuana.

According to state law, adults 21 years old and older may possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of marijuana concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC contained in a marijuana-infused product starting Jan. 1, 2020.

A positive test for cannabis in one's system is at 5 nanograms, whereas a positive test for alcohol is a 0.08% blood alcohol content.

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