One way to address the truck driver shortage is to take a second look at the federal regulations governing their use of marijuana, argues NORML, which for decades has lobbied for the legalization of the drug at the state and federal levels.
A report earlier this year on the national drug and alcohol clearinghouse operated by the Depart of Transportation revealed that many drivers who had been taken out of service when they were found to have used pot later chose not to undergo the rehab required to allow them to return to driving.
DOT also has reported that between Jan. 1 and April 1, of this year, more than 10,000 truck drivers tested positive for past cannabis exposure That figure represents a 33% increase over the same period the year before.
In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reported that 89,650 commercial drivers are currently on prohibited status because of drug use and more than half of those drug test failures were for marijuana.
Earlier this year, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging him to change marijuana-related policies.
“Outmoded and unfair federal drug policies are out of step with reality and directly contribute to the trucking shortage crisis,” he wrote: “Too many of the 2.8 million Americans who hold commercial driver licenses are not working because of past cannabis tests and the difficulty they face re-qualifying for duty.”
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “It is time for workplace policies – and federal workplace policies and guidelines in particular – to adapt to this new reality and to cease punishing employees for activities they engage in during their off-hours that pose no workplace safety threat.”