Sometimes after a long day of work, people want to relax and have a beer or a cocktail. With plenty of liquor stores and bars in almost every town, it’s an easy pick up to unwind. Some people don’t particularly want a drink or want to drink at all. Some people prefer to smoke a cigarette and others prefer to smoke marijuana. For those that smoke marijuana (where it’s legal), there aren’t too many obstacles to holding onto your job, though some companies have a zero-tolerance policy despite the state’s decriminalization or legal status of the substance. Truck drivers are no different and some would prefer to smoke marijuana in their off time, more than likely after a long haul.
More states are legalizing marijuana and it is becoming more readily available to purchase, but for commercial drivers and truck drivers, it is still highly illegal and will result in being fired and loss of commercial drivers license (CDL). You may be wondering why a truck driver would be fired for using the substance in a state that legalized its use – and that’s a fair question to ask. The reason is that CDL holders follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal status trumps states’ rights and laws as marijuana is still federally illegal. Additionally, many fear that marijuana use, even when done in off-hours, could affect drivers’ abilities; any residual high would be considered OUI and would endanger the lives of the driver and others on the road.
While it doesn’t seem that the US government will legalize marijuana any time soon, it likely won’t stop some truck drivers from smoking; it’s entirely possible that there are long-time truck drivers who are marijuana smokers that haven’t been in any accidents; the fear is based around that marijuana impairs reaction time and judgment (as does alcohol) which are two of the biggest factors for collisions. Additionally, some marijuana smokers who considered becoming truck drivers, a position needed across the country, will stay away because they do not want to give it up. It’s a hot debate at the moment and the next few years may see some form of change, or things may stay the same as they have for decades.
Regardless of the future, for the present, marijuana remains illegal and truck drivers are breaking the law if they smoke it at all; truck drivers are held to stricter standards to ensure safety and mitigate trucking accidents. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident and marijuana may have played a part (or you suspect it did), contact a Texas trucking lawyer immediately to formulate a plan to protect yourself. Call us today for more information.