Although dozens of states now allow the sale and consumption of either medical or recreational cannabis, federal law still outlaws the controversial drug. As a result, plenty of consumers have found themselves facing repercussions for consuming legal cannabis, especially employees in federal agencies and certain industries. According to recent data from the Department of Transportation (DOT), commercial truckers are the latest class of employees to be affected by cannabis testing requirements.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that tens of thousands of truckers failed cannabis tests after federally mandated screenings. Many of them have refused to return to work, contributing to a massive labor shortage that has caused supply chain disruptions and increased inflation across the country.
Federal data shows that more than 100,000 truckers have tested positive for marijuana since 2020 and an estimated 166,000 people tested positive for some kind of controlled substance. Unsurprisingly, cannabis was the most-used drug, with most of those who failed the screening testing positive for marijuana. Additionally, nearly 41,000 truckers tested positive for cannabis last year.
Even though these truckers have a “return-to-work” option that would allow them to get their jobs back if they took another drug test, a significant portion of affected drivers haven’t taken the option. Data shows that around 91,000 of the overall 166,000 truckers who were affected by the screenings have not enrolled in the “return-to-work” process either. This has contributed to a labor shortage in one of the most critical industries in the country and is expected to have major economic consequences if it isn’t addressed quickly.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano states that the DOT is partly to blame for the shortage of truckers due to its reliance on “discriminatory policies” and “outdated technology.” Armentano said in a recent blog post that workplace cannabis tests have never been an “evidence-based policy” but a discriminatory policy that bled over from the war on drugs of the 1980s.
He argued that times, attitudes and cannabis laws are changing across the country and that it is time for workplace policies to “adapt to this new reality” and stop punishing employees for engaging in legal activities outside of work hours.
Last year, Rep. Earl Blumenauer sent the head of the DOT a letter stating that the department’s drug testing policies were unnecessarily costing commercial truckers and drivers their jobs and contributing to the country’s ongoing supply chain issues.
Amid all this, many people are starting to grow their own cannabis in jurisdictions where that is allowed, and there is no shortage of people trying out novel indoor cultivation setups using the equipment made and marketed by enterprises such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) in order to boost yields.
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