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MARION — A panel discussion about the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Illinois and how it will impact employers will be held Wednesday, according to a news release from the Illinois Mining Institute.

The discussion will be a part of IMI's annual gathering and will be from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at The Pavilion of the City of Marion. The release states that the topics will be pertinent to all Illinois employers.

Participating in the event will be Jim Smith, chief financial officer of Knight Hawk Coal in Percy; Rebecca Mason, executive director of the infrastructure council at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce; Verlinda Henshaw, director of rehabilitation at Southern Illinois Healthcare; and Shari Rhode, of Rhode Law Firm in Carbondale.

Smith will discuss how to determine impairment as it relates to the law. Mason will address workplace protections and what the law means for companies that have federal contracts. Henshaw will present comments about drug testing policies and procedures and Rhode the rights of both employees and employers as it relates to the law.

“There are many questions about how this new law will affect employers and what rights do they have to ensure a safe workplace without violating an employee’s rights,” IMI President Jim Webb said in the release. “The mining industry is carefully regulated by the federal government. Since marijuana is classified as a narcotic by it, does state law have any standing in our industry?”

All vendors and participants to the IMI Expo, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday, can attend. The public can also attend by signing up the day of the event. The cost is $25, and seating is limited. The two-day IMI Expo features technical sessions, a trade show, mine rescue competition and more.

To register or for more information, go to illinoismininginstitute.org.

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