Ultimate Guide: Marijuana Use And DOT Drug Testing

Marijuana use might seem like a taboo for many, but more and more states are siding with pro-pot advocates by legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. But how does that impact safety-sensitive professions occupied by truckers, limousine drivers, public transportation drivers, and others regulated by the Department of Transportation?

You can indulge in the drug all across the country, but what is the DOT’s policy on marijauana? And how have these evolving state policies impacted the DOT’s required drug and alcohol tests? If you’re looking for answers, New Era Drug Testing is here to help. Read on for a primer on the DOT’s views on marijuana, and how that impacts its testing policies.

What Is The DOT’s Policy On Medical Marijuana?

Though 28 states allow the use of marijuana to as a form of medical treatment. Naturally, many assume this means that the DOT allows medical weed use for the drivers and vehicle operators that must follow its drug testing policies. But that just isn’t the case.

According to the DOT, medical marijuana use is not permitted for transportation employees. If an employees drug test comes up positive for pot, they cannot justify the drug use as medicinal in order to get the results reversed.

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What Is The DOT’s Policy On Recreational Marijuana?

Recent years have seen a host of states permit recreational pot use, but how has the DOT reacted to this development? Just like its medical marijuana policy, the DOT also forbids the use of recreational marijuana.

In its official statement on recreational marijuana, the Department noted:

“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.”

Why Is Marijuana Use Prohibited By The DOT?

It might seem unfair that the DOT does not permit pot use. After all, the substance is legal in many states across the nation, and given its potential medicinal benefits it seems unreasonable to some that pot use can be punished so harshly. But it’s important to remember the effects the drug has on the body.

The effects of marijuana can include dizziness, shallow breathing, a slowed reaction time, and much more. Truck drivers, limo drivers, airplane pilots, and others in DOT-regulated professions need to be alert and on-point while on the job. They often operate dangerous vehicles or machinery, and using the substance while on the job (or close to work time) can prove a major safety hazard to coworkers, clients, and more. The increasing number of states that permit use of the substance makes the DOT’s drug testing policies seem harsh, but it’s important to remember that they’re only in place to ensure safety.

If you’re in need of DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing services, consider New Era Drug Testing. Our nationwide testing consortium offers expert service for the trucking industry, private car services, public transportation services, and much more, helping you and your employees stay compliant with the DOT’s requirements. And with 24/7 customer support, we’re here to help whenever you need us. Contact New Era Drug Testing today for more information on our services.