Department of Transportation and Drug Screening – Legalization Doesn’t Matter

While many employers are grappling with the consequences of legalized marijuana, there are some jobs where legalization just doesn’t matter. This means that employee drug tests are still just as important as they ever have been, regardless of the state in which someone resides.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has strict laws concerning the presence of illicit drugs in a driver’s system, and these aren’t likely to change. This means that any employer who hires safety sensitive transportation workers, such as bus drivers, aircraft maintenance personnel, truck drivers, security personnel who carry firearms and many others are still required to submit employees to drug screens and report positive results for prosecution.

Why It Matters

Employees who hold these types of positions are responsible for transporting others to and from locations safely. As a result, drug free policies are vitally important to ensuring the safety of those who are provided with that transportation. This means that employers who are concerned with how to handle drug screens in states where marijuana is legal, medically or recreationally, do not need to alter their current policies.

DOT Regulations

DOT regulations now address this issue by including that medical marijuana is not authorized as a valid explanation under state law for any transportation employees. This is because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, regardless of what individual states accept in their own areas.

Drug Testing May Be Even More Important

For employers who are in these legalized states, it is even more important that you make sure you are drug testing employees who transport others. Failing to follow through with these requirements could land you and your company in serious trouble, both with the courts and federal law.

While there may be those who balk at drug testing for employees in these states, it is much more important to make sure that those who depend on the employees are as safe as possible. While the legislation failed in the state of Florida in 2015, it still raises concerns if this does become a part of law. Until then, and until further legislation is passed concerning the methods used to test for marijuana in other states, transportation employees will remain subjected to the federal statutes and drug free policies in order to keep their jobs.

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