Buttigieg says if DOJ reclassifies pot, it's still off limits for truckers

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Updated Jul 7, 2024
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No matter what another branch of the federal government does, the one overseeing the trucking industry still views marijuana as off limits.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure this week that even if the Department of Justice reclassifies marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug, the change will not preclude trucking companies and other transportation entities from testing for its use.

 â€śOur understanding of the rescheduling of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III is that it would not alter DOT's marijuana testing requirements with respect to the regulated community,” said Buttigieg in reposne to a question from Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas). “For private individuals who are performing safety-sensitive functions, subject to drug testing, marijuana is identified by name, not by reference to one of those classes. So even if it was in its classification, we do not believe that that would have a direct impact on that authority.”

Crawford was citing two letters from the American Trucking Associations warning against loosening restrictions on marijuana testing.

In a statement Thursday, the ATA President Chris Spear said, “We are grateful to Congressman Crawford for elevating this serious issue, and we appreciate Secretary Buttigieg’s focus on providing the transportation industry with the clarity it needs to continue screening for marijuana use among safety-sensitive transportation workers. If the trucking industry’s ability to conduct drug testing for marijuana use were to be restricted, a heightened risk of impaired drivers would threaten our nation’s roadways. DOT and ATA share the goals of achieving zero highway fatalities and ensuring the commercial driving workforce is qualified to safely operate, which is why we are committed to partnering with DOT to mitigate harmful impacts caused by the potential reclassification of marijuana.”

Legal recreational use of marijuana is on the rise. Pot use is now legal in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.