FMCSA trumps new state laws, says 'no' to marijuana use

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Even though some states are now permitting the recreational use of marijuana, federal regulations for truckers trump the new state laws and prohibit use of the drug.

The new laws in Colorado and Washington prompted numerous inquiries at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as to their effect on the federal regulations governing trucking.

“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,” Jim Swart, director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, stated in a notice posted to the agency’s website recently.

“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.”

The notice goes on to state that medical review officers will not certify tests as negative if the drivers used “recreational marijuana” when states have passed the new laws. The MROs will also not certify a test as negative if the driver has used “medical marijuana.”

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