Dear MSU Students,

I hope this message finds you enjoying the final days of your winter break, and for those of you taking advantage of Snowmester, I wish you the best of luck in the final days. As you prepare for spring semester, I wish to remind you of a few policies at the university and how these policies relate to the new laws in Montana that have decriminalized the use of marijuana.  

As of January 1, 2021, Montana state law allows certain marijuana-related activities, such as limited recreational use and possession. However, using and possessing marijuana in any form remains a crime under federal law. The federal Controlled Substances Act makes growing and using marijuana a crime, and federal enforcement agencies can prosecute users and growers of marijuana, regardless of state law.  

Additionally, the use of marijuana — including medical marijuana — on campus and in the workplace is prohibited by the federal Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and by the Drug-Free Workplace Act. As a recipient of considerable federal funding, such as financial aid, federal grants and contracts for research, the university must comply with federal law and will continue to prohibit the use, possession and distribution of all federally controlled substances — including marijuana. 

Consequently, such activity will remain prohibited by university policy and the MSU Code of Student Conduct. MSU policy prohibits students, employees and visitors from possessing, using or distributing marijuana in any form on any of the university’s campuses or facilities, including in the residence halls, and during any university activities, either on or off campus. 

All of these policies and more can be found in the MSU Code of Student Conduct. If you have any questions about the new laws in Montana or any other topic as it relates to MSU’s alcohol and drug policy, please do not hesitate to email me at [email protected]


I am looking forward to a productive, safe and healthy Spring 2021.


Matthew R. Caires, Dean of Students

Reminders about things to leave at home:

  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Alcohol if you’re under 21 years old
  • Marijuana in any form and regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana prescription
  • Weapons (e.g., firearms, knives, swords and martial arts blades, bow and arrows, stun guns and Tasers, etc.)
  • Paraphernalia (devices for playing drinking games, paraphernalia used to consume alcohol or drugs)
  • Flammable materials (e.g., charcoal, propane, gasoline, etc.)
  • Explosives
  • Hoverboards


Office of the Dean of Students
Montana State University
Student Union Building, Room 174 | P.O. Box 174220 | Bozeman, MT 59717-4220 | [email protected] | (406) 994-2826