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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

New rules published by the DOT warn CBD medical examiners

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The draft rules were published in the Federal Register on August 15which directs medical examiners (MEs) who perform physical examinations of commercial drivers, and is responsible for accrediting drivers to the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

This draft rule warns against consuming CBD in their patients, and makes it clear that it can still cause some drivers to fail their tests. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handbook specifies that drivers may use CBD, as it is federally legal.”

DOT certification lasts two years, but if drivers use cannabis, they still don’t qualify, according to the draft section called “Use of Scheduled Drugs or Substances.” The rules state that “a driver who uses marijuana cannot be physically qualified even if marijuana is legal in the state in which the driver resides for recreational, medical, or religious use.”

In its current form, the draft rules MEs warn that although CBD is legal across the country, not all products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and product labels cannot be guaranteed to incorrectly state the amount of CBD, or THC accuracy. “The FDA does not currently specify or certify levels of THC in products that contain CBD, so there is no federal oversight to ensure that labels on CBD products claiming to contain less than 0.3% dry weight of THC. Min. Therefore, drivers who use these products do so at their own risk.”

Directly, the rules guide MEs on how to conduct screening with CBD in mind. “The agency encourages MEs to take a comprehensive approach to obtaining medical certification and to consider any additional relevant health information or assessments that may objectively support a medical certification decision. MEs may request that drivers obtain and submit non-DOT drug test results during the medical certification process.”

FMCSA also released Draft rules in 2021 Well, which is only briefly mentioned CBD. “The Food and Drug Administration does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no federal oversight to ensure label accuracy. Therefore, drivers who use these products do so at their own risk.” There was no mention of CBD in the 2020 draft rules, but it did state that cannabis is not allowed.

in july, The Ministry of Transport sent a newsletter Reminding drivers that cannabis use is prohibited, and the current state of unregulated CBD products that can contain more than the legal limit for THC. “Recently, some state and local governments have passed legislation prohibiting employers from testing marijuana,” the news States. “[Federal Transit Administration] Employers are reminded that state and local legislative initiatives have no impact on DOT regulated testing programmes. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act.”

The newsletter also includes a chart describing the number of return-to-service (RTD) drug tests, as well as the number of FTA employers who conduct RTD drug tests. One potentially useful statistic is the increase in both the number of return-to-service tests performed and the number of FTA-covered employers performing this type of testing,” Bulletin states. “These data indicate a trend toward a ‘second chance’ policy versus a ‘zero tolerance’/termination policy after a DOT violation.” In 2021, there were 892 RTD drug tests, with 236 drug tests by FTA employers.

in MayRep. Earl Blumenauer sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, expressing the extent of the DOT’s restrictions on cannabis leading to job loss. The federal government should make it easier for drivers who are already qualified to stay in the profession, not force them to turn away. Outdated and unfair federal drug policies are out of step with reality and are directly contributing to the truck shortage crisis.” Blumenauer Books. “Many of the 2.8 million Americans with commercial driver’s licenses are not working because of past cannabis testing and the difficulty they have in re-qualifying for duty. Putting these trained, qualified and capable drivers back on the road will lead to a faster and more efficient de-chaining of supply chains. I am very interested in the steps which your department is taking to ensure that these qualified drivers have opportunities to return to work, regardless of their past use of cannabis.”


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