Is It Against the Law for CDL Operators to use Marijuana?

In 2018 the Michigan Legislature enacted the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which allows the personal possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older. Since the recreational and medical use of cannabis in limited amounts is legal in Michigan, some may wonder if CDL drivers are legally permitted to use marijuana?

CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) is a driver’s license required in the United States to operate large and heavy vehicles or vehicles that transport hazardous materials or more than 16 passengers (including the driver). A CDL is generally required to operate most large tractor-trailers, tankers, livestock carriers, flatbeds, buses, passenger vans, and others.

Cannabis is a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance

Since cannabis is currently classified on the federal level as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance (similar to heroin), it is a violation of federal law to possess marijuana in any form.

CDL drivers are subject to strict state and federal regulation, including federal Department of Transportation drug testing. In addition, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) state that a person is not physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle if he or she uses any Schedule 1 controlled substance. FMCSR also prohibits drivers from being in possession of or under the influence of a Schedule 1 Controlled substance, which includes marijuana.

Testing requirements under the FMCSR do not allow for medical or recreational marijuana use under state law as a valid explanation of a driver’s positive drug test. This means CDL operators who test positive risk losing their licenses.

As CDL drivers come under rigid state and federal regulations, are subject to drug testing and face the possibility of immediate termination with positive drug tests, it is imperative employers and CDL drivers understand the evolving state and federal marijuana laws.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions about laws related to medical and recreational marijuana. To learn more, please visit our website or call 586-726-1000.

Categories: Business