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Montana Drug Testing Compliance

Capital Helena Population 1,042,520
Largest city Billings
Area 147,040 sq mi
Criminal rate 37 crimes /10,000 people Time Zone UTC−7/-6

Montana Employee Background Check Laws

Montana

Legal status for workplace drug screening and alcohol testing

Our intent is to make Montana drug screening compliance as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a constitutional law scholar to conduct workplace drug testing in Montana.

Montana is a “mandatory” state, which means any private employer wishing to conduct drug and/or alcohol testing of non-regulated employees within this state must do so according to the state constitution, statutes, regulations, local ordinances, and court decisions that apply.

These rules are extremely detailed. But, the key thing to understand in Montana workplace drug and alcohol testing is that an employer may only test those positions meeting the “hazardous,” “security-sensitive,” or fiduciary positions defined in state statute (Sec. 39-2-206).

This overview is to introduce you to the nature and history of the state’s workplace drug testing rules and to provide a basic understanding of the compliance issues you may face when drug and alcohol testing in Montana.

Drug Testing Overview Marijuana Court Decisions

Employer Action:
Q1: Are there any state limitations for workplace drug screening policies?
A: Policy must be written, and must be available to applicants and employees.
Q2: Please choose a reason for drug and alcohol testing:
Yes
Yes
Yes - Impaired & OSHA new rule.
Yes - Review OSHA new rule.
Yes - Safety Positions Only.
Yes
Yes - 2 year limit
Q3: Are there any state requirements for test methods?
A: Employees, and supervisors performing work in hazardous work environments. Hazardous work environments include those testing under federal DOT rules.
Q4: Are there any state requirements or limitation for drugs you can test for?
A: SAMHSA panel (other substances may be tested for as long as procedures used are as stringent as those in 49 CFR Part 40).
Q5: Are there any state requirements or limitations for specific notice of result?
A: No restrictions.
Q6: Is it required to use a Certified Laboratory?
A: Requires compliance with 49 CFR part 40.
Q7: What types of specimens can we test for?
A: Urine or oral fluid; breath for alcohol.
Q8: Are there restrictions for Alcohol Testing?
A: Per DOT regs. Device from Conforming Products List only, 0.04 or greater is positive. Administered by certified BAT only.

Did you know?

Q1. Can I do a random testing for my employees in Montana?

Correct!

Answer is “Yes”

Although, the regulations have some limitations:

Only certain job categories may be subject to testing in Montana. Random Testing: An employer may use random testing if the employer’s controlled substance and alcohol policy include one or both of the required procedures.

Montana Drug & Alcohol Testing Laws

This law was enacted in 1997. The law was amended in 2011. Workplace drug and alcohol testing in Montana are not complex once you understand that you are only allowed to test those positions that meet the definition of “employee.” This is a “mandatory” state; meaning if an employer wishes to conduct drug and/or alcohol testing the state’s rules must be followed.

In the November 2, 2004 election, voters approved by 62% Ballot Measure 148 establishing the “MONTANA MARIJUANA ACT.” The law became effective that same day. In 2001, a bill was passed to repeal the Montana Marijuana Act in response to the drastic increase of medical marijuana users and caregivers. The Governor vetoed this measure. In response to the veto, the legislature enacted SB 423 (§50-46-301 et seq.). HB 423 dramatically changed the rules under the Act. The 2016 initiative also led to a number of changes to relevant sections. The current law does have a number of sections relevant to the workplace.  Including a registered cardholder, to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.

ABBREVIATIONS
  • American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  • Blood Alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Breath Alcohol Test (BAT)
  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
  • College of American Pathologists (CAP)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Forensic Urine Drug Testing (FUDT)
  • Medical Review officer (MRO)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)

Update: November 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

Montana Marijuana Employer Guidelines

“Recreational vs. personal” use of marijuana: We recognize that a majority of the country uses the term “recreational use” when referring to states that have legalized possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for those over 21.

Montana personal and medical use of marijuana.

Medical Use: Medical marijuana in Montana has had a contentious history. Medical marijuana was initially approved by the Montana voters in 2004 by 62% of voters It became effective the same day. The Initiative created the “MONTANA MARIJUANA ACT.” It was later targeted by an attempted repeal, but the bill was vetoed by the Governor. In 2011, SB 423 was passed by the state legislature. This law rolled back much of the 2004 voter-approved initiative legalizing medicinal marijuana. SB 423 took effect in July 2011.

Court challenges to SB 423 (including to the State and US Supreme Courts) were initiated. These cases tied up the legislation until August 2016. Proponents of medical marijuana complained that SB 423 created some significant limitations that would force the closure of dispensaries and make it difficult for medical marijuana users to obtain the substance.

Initiative 182 passed with 57.87% of the vote. The measure was designed to curtail what proponents of medical marijuana viewed as the excesses of SB 423. The law was renamed the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The measure repealed SB 423's requirements that medical marijuana providers have no more than three patients and the state review physicians who prescribe marijuana to more than twenty-five patients per year. The measure allowed physicians to prescribe marijuana for patients diagnosed with chronic pain or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Personal Use: Ballot initiatives in 2012 and 2014 failed to get enough signatures to be included on the ballots.

For more information regarding marijuana at work, refer to Info Cubic’s Drug Screening compliance corner.

Update: November 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

KEY COURT DECISIONS
Court Case Issue Outcome Employer Limitation/ Action

Johnson VS Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

  1. Employee fired for positive test.
  2. Employee indicating that Medical Marijuana Act is decriminalization statute.

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company won.

Found that the employer didn’t violate the Americans With Disabilities Act or the Montana Human Rights Act. The law specifically states that employers need not accommodate in employee’s use of marijuana.

Update: November 2017

TO PAGETOP