Regrettably, it is not possible to obtain a medical marijuana card if you possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL), even in states where recreational marijuana is legalized.
Despite the potential benefits of a medical marijuana card for commercial drivers, they are prohibited from obtaining one. In this article, we explain the reasons behind this restriction and address the duration of drug presence in the body. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each CDL holder to determine whether obtaining an MMJ card is worth the potential risk of losing their license.
There are more states where medical marijuana is legal than states where it is completely illegal. If you reside in a legal state and meet the requirements, you can apply for medical marijuana. If you have a qualifying medical condition, there is no reason for a doctor to refuse your access. You have the right to obtain a medical marijuana card, even if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). However, if you ever test positive for marijuana, you will jeopardize your career.
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) made it clear when discussing the use of medical marijuana. According to the DOT, its Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation explicitly prohibits the use of medical marijuana under state law (49 CFR Part 40).
Keep in mind that despite the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes in many states and the District of Columbia, it remains illegal at the federal level. As the Department of Transportation (DOT) is a federal employer, the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, is strictly prohibited. This applies particularly to employees in safety-sensitive positions, who are not permitted to have any trace of the drug in their system.
The regulations pertaining to Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) involve both state and federal authorities. Since 1986, the federal government has been responsible for establishing the guidelines through the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Consequently, the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the policies regarding drug testing. Hence, it is strongly advised against using medical marijuana if you possess a CDL.
What Could Happen If I Use Weed and Drive My CMV?
If you possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and desire to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), you must successfully undergo a drug test prior to employment. Following accidents, it is customary for companies to conduct drug and alcohol tests. Moreover, employers have the authority to conduct random drug tests on CDL drivers throughout the year. It is within the bounds of the law for your employer to promptly test individuals they suspect of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While we can engage in discussions regarding the comparison between driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of drugs, it is important to note that refusing to undergo a drug or alcohol test automatically results in failure and the suspension of your CDL. The CDL can only be reinstated once you have completed the return-to-duty process with a substance abuse professional certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Having a failed drug or alcohol test on your record can make things challenging. It can be difficult to secure another job for a period of approximately one year or even longer. Additionally, even if you successfully complete the return-to-duty process, your employer is not required to rehire you. In the best case scenario, you will suffer a significant loss of earnings, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. In the worst case, your career as a driver will come to an end.
Why Would a Truck Driver Need a Medical Marijuana Card?
The job of a truck driver may be perceived as simple, but it is not to be underestimated. Some individuals in the industry consider it one of the top jobs in the United States that doesn’t require a college degree. However, it should not be assumed that it is as straightforward as just sitting behind the wheel. Long-haul drivers often spend multiple days transporting cargo over thousands of miles. They have to endure nights in motels and rely on subpar gas station food for meals.
Incorporating regular physical activity into one’s life is crucial. Truck drivers, due to their strict deadlines, are unable to pause their journey and visit a gym along the way. This profession is also associated with obesity, which is not surprising considering the combination of little or no exercise and consuming high-calorie food. Furthermore, there is a risk of developing various medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Other medical issues that can arise include stress, sleep apnea, depression, lung problems, and fatigue. When considering all these factors, it becomes evident why a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder would require a Medical Marijuana (MMJ) card.
Consulting a Qualified Medical Professional
Individuals with a CDL who are considering the use of medical marijuana should consult with a qualified medical professional experienced in both cannabis medicine and transportation regulations. These professionals can provide guidance on state-specific laws, potential risks, and alternative treatments. They can also help navigate the complexities of obtaining an MMJ card while holding a CDL.
Exploring Alternative Options
CDL holders seeking alternative therapies may look at non-psychoactive solutions, such as CBD (cannabidiol), while understanding the hazards and legal consequences. Although it comes from the cannabis plant, CBD does not have the same intoxicating properties as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It provides possible therapeutic advantages without obstructing drug testing or jeopardizing security.
Also Read: Can A Diabetes Patient Get A Medical Card?
It can be challenging to obtain an MMJ card while holding a CDL. There are difficulties for people who want to use marijuana for medical purposes because of the contradiction between federal and state legislation and the tight CDL restrictions. It is crucial for CDL holders to fully comprehend the laws in their state, speak with medical experts, and look into alternate treatments that mesh with their work obligations and safety obligations.