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Truck Drivers Are Refusing More Drug Tests As States Legalize Cannabis

In light of the increasing legalization of marijuana across the United States, a recent federal report has unveiled a notable decline in positive drug tests among commercial drivers. However, this encouraging trend is juxtaposed against a significant rise in the number of drivers refusing drug screenings altogether.

According to the report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), positive drug tests among commercial drivers decreased from 57,597 in 2022 to 54,464 in 2023. Concurrently, the number of drivers refusing to undergo screenings surged by 39 percent. This surge in refusals has contributed to a slight increase in the total number of recorded drug violations among truckers, reaching 68,229 in 2023 compared to 67,775 in the previous year.

The FMCSA attributes the overall rise in drug violations in 2023 primarily to the substantial increase in reported drug test refusals, which include instances such as failing to appear for a random test or leaving a test collection facility prematurely. This data, drawn from the agency’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, reflects the evolving landscape within the transportation industry.

In terms of specific substances, marijuana metabolites remained the top positive result, followed by cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, various opioids, and others. Despite the decline in positive tests for marijuana, concerns persist regarding the impact of federal marijuana criminalization and related drug testing mandates on the transportation sector.

An ongoing debate surrounds the efficacy and fairness of current marijuana testing procedures, especially considering that cannabis metabolites can be detected long after any impairment has dissipated. Many within the industry argue for a reevaluation of testing policies, advocating for methods that measure active impairment rather than past usage.

These findings underscore the complex intersection of federal drug policies, workforce shortages, and evolving attitudes towards marijuana legalization. As the transportation industry grapples with these challenges, stakeholders continue to seek solutions that balance safety concerns with the need for a robust and sustainable workforce.

Read the whole article from MarijuanaMoment here.

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