Marijuana wins big in 2016 elections, still off limits for truckers, DOT says

| November 09, 2016

Four states voted to legalize recreational marijuana, while another four states voted to legalize medical marijuana in Tuesday’s election.

After four more states voted to approve legalization of marijuana Tuesday, it appears the Department of Transportation will stand by its previous stance that using marijuana is forbidden for truck drivers as long as it remains a Schedule I drug.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesperson Duane DeBruyne said Wednesday any change in the drug testing laws for truckers would have to begin with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy before the DOT could make any changes.

Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana in their respective states Tuesday, and voters in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. Montana voted to loosen restrictions medical marijuana laws in the state.

In 2012, when Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, the DOT announced the initiatives wouldn’t change its drug testing policies. Last November, DOT issued a similar statement about medical marijuana that stated it wouldn’t change the drug testing program.

“It is important to note that marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act,” the 2012 statement said. “It remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.”

According to a report from the Associated Press, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population — upwards of 80 million Americans — now live in states with legalized recreational pot. With Tuesday’s vote, 28 states now allow medical marijuana.

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