The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“CRTA”), which was enacted in 2019, legalized recreational adult use cannabis in Illinois. The CRTA also created a Social Equity Program intended to offer disadvantaged people, communities of color, and those disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs an opportunity to benefit from the cannabis industry. Pursuant to the Social Equity Program, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (“IDOA”) awards points to applicants for cannabis licenses based on factors such as residing in an area disproportionately impacted by prior laws criminalizing cannabis and veteran status. The program was widely praised and seen by many as a potential blueprint for other states. In practice, however, administration of the Social Equity Program has proved fraught with difficulties. Various types of applicants that have been denied the valuable licenses have sued IDOA, claiming that the department wrongfully denied their licenses.
Brad Graveline is a partner in the Intellectual Property and Litigation Practice Groups in the firm's Chicago office.
In January 2020, Illinois legalized the use of recreational marijuana through the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (“the Act”). Two months later, many employees began working remotely because of the pandemic. Today, work-from-home continues to blur the lines between “work” and “home” in countless ways, and employee drug policies are no exception. The new world of remote work has left many employers wondering what to do with their drug policies now that cannabis is legal and their employees are remote or hybrid. Can an employer lawfully prevent their employees from using cannabis while working from home?
Continue Reading What Do I Do With My Workplace Drug Policy Now That Cannabis Is Legal in Illinois and My Employees Are Remote?
Many Illinois cannabis contracts, including intellectual property licensing agreements, development agreements and supply agreements, contain force majeure clauses. Depending upon the language of these clauses, the COVID-19 pandemic may be an event that triggers these clauses and provides a defense to nonperformance of the contract.
Companies that are experiencing difficulties complying with or enforcing compliance with their contracts should carefully examine their contracts to determine if a force majeure clause may excuse performance.
On March 20, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay at home order for all Illinois residents. (Executive Order 2020-10.) On April 30, 2020, Governor Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order through May 30, 2020. (Executive Order 2020-32.) Many other state and local government agencies have taken similar measures. And, while cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities are deemed to be “essential businesses” under the Illinois orders, some other states, such as Massachusetts, have not exempted such facilities. As a result of the restrictions placed on businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies operating in the cannabis industry in Illinois may be experiencing compliance-related difficulties with their contracts.…