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Input Sought on Legalized Marijuana

Newsletter Update

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has launched a driver survey to better understand the impacts of state laws that have legalized marijuana on the trucking industry and its workforce. First deployed in-person at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY where over 300 drivers completed the survey, ATRI has now placed the survey online for additional driver input.

ATRI’s marijuana impacts research was a top research priority of its Research Advisory Committee in 2022. This topic was identified as critical because of the conflict and uncertainty between new state laws legalizing marijuana and long-standing federal law, especially for those that are part of a federally-regulated workforce.

effect of legalized marijuana on trucking industry

The survey asks for driver perspectives and knowledge related to new state laws, as well as the impact of these laws on roadway safety and the workforce.

“Driver input is a critical component of ATRI’s research and this newest survey is no exception,” said ATRI President Rebecca Brewster. “We hope that professional drivers will take a few minutes to provide their perspectives on this critical topic.” The survey will remain open through April 28, 2023.

This research, by itself, only demonstrates a narrow viewpoint on the topic. For one thing, there is no input from motor carriers. Also, ATRI acknowledges the long-standing prohibition of marijuana use for safety sensitive jobs in transportation. When they release their final report, it will be interesting to see what conclusions they draw from the data. The most obvious one might be that drivers are generally in favor.

One thing is certain: even if FMCSA is persuaded that the use of legalized marijuana does not constitute a positive drug test, it would be years before action is taken. We are multiple years into ratifying hair testing for drugs, and still no conclusion on that matter. It does not seem likely that ATRI’s survey will result in any regulatory action.