Montana Code Annotated 2021

TITLE 16. ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND MARIJUANA

CHAPTER 12. MARIJUANA REGULATION AND TAXATION

Part 1. General Provisions

Unlawful Conduct By Licensees -- Penalties

16-12-109. (Effective January 1, 2022) Unlawful conduct by licensees -- penalties. (1) If the department has reasonable cause to believe that a licensee has violated a provision of this chapter or a rule of the department, it may, in its discretion and in addition to any other penalties prescribed:

(a) reprimand a licensee;

(b) revoke the license of the licensee;

(c) suspend the license for a period of not more than 3 months;

(d) refuse to grant a renewal of the license after its expiration; or

(e) impose a civil penalty not to exceed $3,000.

(2) The department shall consider mitigating circumstances and may adjust penalties within penalty ranges based on its consideration of mitigating circumstances. Examples of mitigating circumstances are:

(a) compliance with the provisions of this chapter within the prior 3 years;

(b) the licensee has made good faith efforts to prevent a violation; or

(c) the licensee has cooperated in the investigation of the violation and the licensee or an employee or agent of the licensee accepts responsibility.

(3) The department shall consider aggravating circumstances and may adjust penalties within penalty ranges based on its consideration of aggravating circumstances. Examples of aggravating circumstances are:

(a) prior warnings about compliance problems;

(b) prior violations of the provisions of this chapter within the past 3 years;

(c) lack of written policies governing employee conduct;

(d) additional violations revealed during the course of the investigation;

(e) efforts to conceal a violation;

(f) intentional violations; or

(g) involvement of more than one patron or employee in a violation.

(4) For each licensing program regulated by the department under this chapter, the department is designated as a criminal justice agency within the meaning of 44-5-103 for the purpose of obtaining confidential criminal justice information regarding licensees and license applicants and regarding possible unlicensed practice.

(5) The department shall revoke and may not reissue a license or endorsement belonging to a person:

(a) whose controlling beneficial owner is an individual convicted of a felony drug offense;

(b) who allows another person not authorized or lawfully allowed to be in possession of the license;

(c) who transports marijuana or marijuana products outside of Montana, unless otherwise allowed by federal law;

(d) who operates a carbon dioxide or hydrocarbon extraction system without obtaining a manufacturing license;

(e) who purchases marijuana from an unauthorized source in violation of this chapter; or

(f) who sells, distributes, or transfers marijuana or marijuana products to a person the licensee knows or should know is under 21 years of age.

(6) A licensee whose license is revoked may not reapply for licensure for 3 years from the date of the revocation.

(7) (a) Review of a department action imposing a fine, suspension, or revocation under this chapter must be conducted as a contested case hearing before the department's office of dispute resolution under the provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.

(b) A person may appeal any decision of the department concerning the issuance, rejection, suspension, or revocation of a license provided for by this chapter to the district court in the county in which the person operates or proposes to operate. If a person operates or seeks to operate in more than one county, the person may seek judicial review in the district court with jurisdiction over actions arising in any of the counties where it operates or seeks to operate.

(c) An appeal pursuant to subsection (7)(b) must be made by filing a complaint setting forth the grounds for relief and the nature of relief demanded with the district court within 30 days following receipt of notice of the department's final decision.

History: En. Sec. 20, I.M. No. 190, approved Nov. 3, 2020; amd. Sec. 44, Ch. 576, L. 2021.