Is It Legal for Truckers to Use Medical Marijuana? | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
March 24, 2016

As medical marijuana becomes legal in an increasing number of states to treat debilitating conditions such as chronic pain and seizures, it’s no surprise that more people consider treating their own conditions with marijuana. But what happens when you work in the transportation industry as a truck driver? You may wonder if a truck driver lives in a state where medical marijuana is legal, can they use the drug to treat their pain without risking their career? According to the federal government, the answer is no.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) says that medical marijuana, legal under state law, is not considered a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result. That means that if you test positive for even trace amounts of THC (which can stay in your system for up to 30 days), DOT regulations require your employer to terminate you. Medical Review Officers cannot approve an exemption even if you have a valid prescription or medical marijuana card.

Is It Possible to Ever Use Medical Marijuana and Keep My CDL?

Obviously, it is never legal to drive a truck—or a non-commercial vehicle for that matter— while under the influence of marijuana. Many still wonder, however, if it is ever possible to use medical marijuana and keep a commercial driver’s license (CDL), so long as you don’t drive under the influence. The law is a bit murkier on this front. Obviously, you can be fired from a job after a positive test, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your license will be revoked. It depends on state laws where your license is issued.

Still “safety-sensitive” transportation employees, such as school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others, should refrain from medical marijuana use if they are worried about keeping their jobs. Until the day federal law should decide to allow for medical marijuana use, truck drivers are not allowed to use medical marijuana regardless of the state in which they reside. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, which means that you may even face federal criminal charges if you test positively.

According to the DOT, this policy remains in place to “assure the traveling public that our transportation system is the safest it can possibly be,” a worthy goal to be sure. Marijuana use or no, truckers are always at risk of an accident when they are on the roads, especially when around inexperienced drivers.

If you are injured in a crash, an experienced Ohio accident lawyer can help you minimize the fallout and get back on your feet. Call the dedicated Ohio accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW today to find out how we may be able to help.