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January 08, 2013
DOT clarifies its position on recreational marijuana use

In light of changes in some state laws regarding recreational use of marijuana, the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a clarification through its Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance. DOT says it received numerous inquiries about the possible impact of state initiatives on its longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety-sensitive transportation employees such as pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, and aircraft maintenance personnel.

“We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug-testing program,” the notice stated. As a result, medical review officers (MROs) will not verify a drug test as negative based on learning that an employee used recreational marijuana in states that have passed such laws.

The notice added, “We also firmly reiterate that an MRO will not verify a drug test negative based upon information that a physican recommended that the employee use medical marijuana in states that have passed such laws.”

According to DOT, “It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the DOT’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.”

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