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Montana: Marijuana Products and New Employer Protections

On May 18, 2021, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation (HB 701) amending the Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (Act) which implements and regulates the use of recreational marijuana. The law is effective January 1, 2022, and under the Act:

  • Smoking marijuana or marijuana products in hotel or motel rooms, anywhere smoking is prohibited, or in a public place is prohibited;
  • Employers may discipline an employee for violating a workplace drug policy or for working while intoxicated by marijuana or marijuana products;
  • Employers may choose to not hire, terminate, or discipline an individual who violated a known workplace drug policy or who was intoxicated by marijuana or a marijuana product while working.
  • Employers may include a provision prohibiting marijuana use for a debilitating medical condition in any contract.
  • A wrongful discharge or discrimination lawsuit against an employer for the legal actions they take under the Act is not permitted.
  • The state’s law prohibiting discrimination for the use of a lawful product during non-working hours was revised by adding marijuana to the definition of protected lawful products.

The law will permit employers to continue to enforce drug-free workplace rules, but employers cannot refuse to employ, or discriminate against in any employment terms or conditions, because an individual legally uses marijuana off the employer’s premises during non-working hours.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.