Experienced, practical advice of a large firm.
Responsive, efficient, top-notch support of a small firm.
By: Lily Crespo Esq.
What happened? On November 4, 2020, Montana voters approved two ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Adults will be able to use, possess and cultivate cannabis starting January 1, 2021 under the approved measure. That same day, regulators could begin accepting license applications for marijuana retailers.
This did not alter federal law! Of important note to educators and employers, federal law still prohibits marijuana use on school grounds. While recreational marijuana use is now legal in Montana, possessing, using, distributing, and selling marijuana is a federal crime.
Now for a quick look at the new recreational marijuana law…
What does this new law mean for schools and employers? Federal law still completely prohibits the use of marijuana on school grounds. The new STATE law does not change this. The new law contains a number of provisions of special interest to schools and employers…
Section 16. Limitations of act. (1) [sections 1 through 36] do not permit marijuana (i) on the grounds of any property owned or leased by a school district, a public or private preschool, school, or postsecondary school as defined in 20-5-402; OR (ii) in a school bus.
Nothing in [sections 1 through 36] may be construed to: (a) require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by [sections 1 through 36] in any workplace or on the employer’s property;(b) prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while intoxicated by marijuana; (c) prevent an employer from declining to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of the individual’s violation of a workplace drug policy or intoxication by marijuana while working.
“within 500 feet of and on the same street as a building used exclusively as a church, synagogue, or other place of worship or as a school or postsecondary school other than a commercially operated school, unless the locality allows for a reduced distance. This distance must be measured in a straight line from the center of the nearest entrance of the place of worship or school to the nearest entrance of the licensee’s premises.”
Two important takeaways
As you consider these and other issues, we recommend you speak with your school lawyer or contact Bea, Kevin, Megan, Beth, and Lily by email or at 406-542-1300 to discuss these issues.