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Flathead Employers to Learn About Medical Marijuana Act

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KALISPELL- The new medical marijuana law is expected to go into effect in less than a month's time here in Montana and while the Montana legislators believes the new law will eliminate most of the "gray area" created by the old law, Montana employers still have lots of questions about these new guidelines.

Employers have struggled since 2004 to understand how the new law will affect their current policies on medical marijuana users, if at all. But thanks to one Kaispell attorney, they'll have some help interpreting the new medical marijuana act passed during this year's legislative session.

Attorney Angela Jacobs was asked back in February to speak to a group of employers who were looking for clarification on how medical marijuana could affect their policies.

"Employers were having a lot of issues about whether or not they could terminate employees who tested positive when they had a zero tolerance drug policy," said Jacobs. "The employee would come back to the employer and say, 'well I was never impaired at work' and so employers had huge concerns about the language in the old act."

The laws have changed since February, including much stricter regulations on the medical marijuana act, set to go into effect July 1st.

"They're changing so rapidly these days, that these types of meetings are so beneficial to us," said Flathead Bank Human Resources Officer Wendy Nissen.

But Jacobs said the message she has for employers stayed the same.

"All I can tell them that what the law is now," said Jacobs. "I would tell them that they could be more comfortable terminating employees who test positive, but make it known that medical marijuana is either allowed, or not allowed."

Jacobs says the new law will provide more answers for employers, but says its still up to employers to make their policies clear-instead of just relying on the new law.

"It takes care of a private right of action-there is none under the new law," said Jacobs. "And it takes out some of the problematic language. One thing that I see about employers is that they're not putting medical marijuana into their drug policies, and they need to be."

"It's all about protecting ourselves and our employees," said Nissen. "So if we can be current and know what we're talking about, we can run our businesses more smoothly."

Jacobs says reguardless of how and when the law changes, it is important that employers stay consistent in their policies-adding that if you're going to terminate an employee for using marijuana, to follow those guidelines for all employees.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: kaj18.com
Author: Laura Wilson
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Copyright: KAJ18.com
Website: Flathead employers to learn about Medical Marijuana Act
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