9th Cir: Montana Law Doesn’t Prevent Employers From Banning Marijuana

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a fired marijuana user’s lawsuit against his employer, Charter Communications, LLC. The Montana Supreme Court’s refusal to certify a question that plaintiff Lance Carson wanted answered before the state’s high court will stand.

The federal appeals court concluded that a state’s legalization of marijuana won’t necessarily override a company’s drug-free workplace policy. The Montana Marijuana Act (MMA) doesn’t “prevent employers from prohibiting their employees from using marijuana or authorize wrongful termination or discrimination suits against employers,” it said.

The court also noted that the MMA doesn’t violate Montana’s constitution and is in line with the state’s “careful regulation of access to an otherwise illegal substance for limited use by persons for whom there is little or no other effective alternative” while “avoid[ing] entanglement with federal law.”  

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