While Colorado and Washington both now allow for the recreational smoking of marijuana, truck drivers living or traveling through the state are forbidden from a quick toke. The federal Department of Transportation on Monday affirmed that the new marijuana legalization rules do not apply to anyone who drives a commercial truck for a living.
According to the DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance:
“We have had several inquiries about whether these state initiatives will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety‐sensitive transportation employees – pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire‐armed security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.
“We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program. The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40 – does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason.
“Therefore, Medical Review Officers (MROs) will not verify a drug test as negative based upon learning that the employee used “recreational marijuana” when states have passed “recreational marijuana” initiatives.
“We also firmly reiterate that an MRO will not verify a drug test negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use “medical marijuana” when states have passed “medical marijuana” initiatives.”
The rules specifically apply to jobs that require federally mandated drug testing.
This newest ruling will once again raise questions regarding the legality of marijuana legalization at the state level. While Colorado and Washington both have put laws into place, federal law can still overrule state laws.