Although the state of Florida has legalized marijuana to be used for medical purposes, there are still restrictions as to who can use the drug and when they are permitted to use it. Take for instance someone who is responsible for operating a commercial truck. Although the Department of Justice (DOJ) has enacted laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “regulated drug testing program” is not affected in any way as a result of the DOJ’s decision.
The U.S. DOT reported in 2017 that their “Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” under state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result.” The regulation § 40.151 states that MRO’s, or Medical Review Officers, are prohibited from doing the following: they must “not verify a test negative based on information that a physician recommended that the employee use a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.”
What this means is that if you were to have your physician recommend that you use medical marijuana and then were found with it in your system during a routine drug test or even after being tested following a truck accident, you would be subject to the penalties this offense carries as that is exactly how the U.S. DOT views the use of marijuana. The US DOT states that marijuana islisted in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and “it remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.”
Why doesn’t the US DOT allow commercial truck drivers to use medical marijuana?
Marijuana has gained many supporters over the last few years as it has been linked to helping may deal with certain symptoms their medical conditions carry. However, the US DOT is not one of those supporters not only because it is against the law for a trucker to use marijuana, but also because studies have shown that marijuana use affects driving. According to the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse, “marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time.” The source cites that “marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently found in drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes, including fatal ones.” In fact, there have even been studies that found that a “driver with THC in their blood was roughly twice as likely to be culpable for a fatal crash than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol.”
Given the type of work a commercial truck driver does, there is no room for risk which is why the US DOT does not permit truckers to use medical marijuana, even when their doctor has recommended they use it.
What if I was involved in a truck accident with an operator who was under the influence of marijuana in Fort Myers, FL?
If you or someone you know suffered an injury in an accident with a truck driver in FL who may
have been under the influence of medical marijuana while operating their vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages the wreck has caused you to suffer. This might include the pain and suffering you are experiencing, loss of wages, and even the medical bills you are now required to pay. Given that it is illegal for a trucker to use marijuana for medical purposes, you stand a fighting chance at winning your case.
Now, you will want to hire a Fort Myers, FL truck accident lawyer who is familiar with the laws that govern truckers and trucking companies as they are the key to helping you obtain a successful outcome. FL truck crash lawyer Howard Chappell has a great deal of experience in handling injury cases involving all types of vehicles and would be happy to provide you with the legal assistance you are seeking after having been involved in a tragic truck accident.
To schedule an initial consultation to learn more about your legal rights and how this firm can help you, visit or call the Chappell Law Group at:
5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd., Ste 366
Fort Myers, FL 33907