West Virginia residents should know that although an additional four states voted during the November elections to legalize marijuana, the U.S. Department of Transportation will still prohibit use of the drug for truck drivers as long as it is classified as a Schedule I drug. According to the a representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, before the DOT can make any amendments to the regulations regarding drug testing for truckers, the changes would have to be initiated by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Recreational marijuana was legalized in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada while medicinal marijuana was legalized in Arkansas, North Dakota and Florida. Voters in Montana opted to reduce the restrictions on medical marijuana.
When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012, the DOT stated then that its drug testing policies would not change. It has asserted that marijuana was unacceptable for safety-sensitive employees who had to be tested for drugs under the department’s drug testing rules. A similar statement regarding medical marijuana was issued in November 2015.
More than 80 million people now reside in states where recreational marijuana is legal. With the results of the November election factored in, a total of 28 states permits the use of medical marijuana.
Impairment can be caused by substances other than alcohol and can be the cause of a semi truck accident. However, marijuana impairment can be harder and more elusive to measure than is the case with alcohol. An attorney representing an occupant of another vehicle who has been injured in a truck collision may need to rely on other evidence such as eyewitness testimony, statements from the truck driver or the observations of police and other first responders.