More and more truck drivers are testing positive for marijuana, and it’s potentially costing them their careers. The rising number of positive tests is largely due to more states passing laws regarding recreational and medical marijuana, and misinformation about use.
Here are some frequently asked questions that corrects a lot of the current misinformation and will hopefully keep you and your commercial driver’s license status in good standing:
What Violation Is the Most Common Reported by the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?
According to the December 2022 report, drug violations make up 82% of total violations reported – 60% of those being marijuana (Δ9-THCA).
Can You Get a CDL with a Medical Marijuana Card in PA, NJ, DE, MD, NY, or CT?
Under 49 CFR Part 40, the DOT does not allow the use of marijuana, and will not accept physician recommendations as an exception to this rule. This means you can lose your CDL even if medical marijuana is legal with a prescription in your state.
Can You Be a CDL Driver and a Medical Marijuana User Simultaneously?
Legally, no. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, and should never be used while performing a safety sensitive function, like truck driving. Even if you do not use marijuana while driving, it can still be detected up to a month later in a drug test.
Are Protections in Place for CDL Drivers Needing Medical Marijuana in Any State?
No. Under 49 CFR Part 40, the DOT does not allow the use of marijuana, and will not accept physician recommendations as an exception to this rule. This means you can and will lose your CDL if you test positive for marijuana in every state, regardless of whether medical marijuana has been legalized or not.
Can Truck Drivers Use Marijuana Recreationally If Their State Allows It?
No, truck drivers are subject to federal law and marijuana is illegal at the federal level. Additionally, even if you do not use marijuana regularly, random drug tests by happen and marijuana, specifically the THC compound, can stay in your system for up to a month.
Can CDL Drivers Use CBD?
Technically, CBD with a THC concentration of 0.3% or lower is legal to consume. However, the DOT does not distinguish between THC derived from CBD and Marijuana. Since CBD is not regulated by the FDA, and THC levels are not tested for consistency, it is likely that THC from CBD will still show up in a drug panel and you will lose your CDL license if it detected. Due to the widespread misinformation, the DOT released a notice regarding CBD products.
Do Trucking Companies Test for CBD?
While commercial hemp-derived CBD products are supposed to contain less than 0.3% THC, regulation on CBD products is lax and there is a real possibility that the actual THC content may be higher. Regardless, on some tests even a trace amount of THC can be detected on a drug test.
Can You Fail a DOT Drug Test for CBD?
Yes, it’s highly likely as drug tests are highly sensitive. Additionally, the DOT does not distinguish between THC derived from CBD and Marijuana, and will not waive test results or consequences
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
Depending on the dosage and method of use, CBD can stay in someone’s system for days or weeks. On average, when CBD is taken orally, it’s likely to stay in your system for 11-28 days.
What Happens If a Truck Driver Tests Positive for Marijuana?
Truck drivers who test positive for prohibited substances will be removed from safety-sensitive positions and must enter a return to work process in order to get back behind the wheel. This process includes an evaluation by a substance abuse professional, completing a prescribed treatment program, passing a return-to-duty drug and alcohol test, and having a documented follow-up testing schedule for the next 12 months.
How Long Does the Return-To-Duty Process Take After Failing a Drug or Alcohol Test?
The process to get back behind the wheel takes several weeks or months to complete. After that, you will have mandated testing for 12 months, and the violation will remain on your record for 5 years.
While more and more states are loosening restrictions on marijuana use for both recreational and medical use, truck drivers are subject to federal regulations and it is still illegal under federal law. And even though CBD is legal and contains less than 0.3% THC, this is an amount that can still be detected under a drug test. The road to return-to-duty can be long and cumbersome and many truck drivers never return. It’s not worth losing your livelihood for CBD and/or marijuana use.