Marijuana Laws May Change

CDL Holders Shouldn’t Start Using Just Yet

As you may have heard, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is making a move to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug. The agency began the process of recognizing medical uses of marijuana and acknowledging that marijuana use has “less potential for abuse” than other drugs.   If the changes proceed through the process marijuana will move from schedule I to Schedule III in the DEA controlled substance classification. The move would have no impact on recreational use of marijuana. Importantly, there are many other steps that must be taken before the reclassification is final.

For purposes of ICSA members and other CDL holders, the USDOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations prohibit the use of marijuana by CDL holders, and it is unclear how the DEA action will impact those regulations. As described in the FMCSA website FAQs, the regulations prohibit the use of “Marijuana, including a mixture or preparation containing marijuana.”  FMCSA’s justification for the marijuana prohibition is that it is a “Schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 21 CFR § 1308.11.” If the DEA changes go through, marijuana will be a schedule III rather than a schedule I controlled substance.

In other words, the bottom line is that nothing has changed. CDL holders may not use marijuana under the federal regulations, even if it is medically prescribed or legal in a particular state. While it is possible that this regulation changes things, it will be some time before it winds its way through the process. Even if it becomes legal, ICSA will continue to recommend that its members and all CDL holders refrain from marijuana use.

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