Currently, in the United States, there are 19 states which have legalized recreational marijuana and 37 other states which permit it for medical use. As we wait for the rest of the states to emerge from the dark ages, cities in every state have begun to decriminalize this amazing plant and cannabis is quickly becoming mainstream.
Even in states where cannabis is entirely prohibited, attitudes are shifting and aren't waiting for the law to catch up. The people have spoken and cannabis gets the vote the overwhelming majority of the time.
In spite of mass acceptance and widespread legalization, however, bureaucrats hellbent on stagnant policies and reefer madness, desperately attempt to maintain their grip over what people can and can't put in their own bodies. One group of bureaucrats in the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), is upholding a no-tolerance policy that will have detrimental consequences beyond just the drug war.
Currently in the United States, thanks to vaccine mandates, and other government interventions in the marketplace, there is a massive shortage of truckers. In a country that is already facing monumental supply chain issues, we are also facing a shortage of truckers that has risen to an all time high of over 80,000.
Despite President Joe Biden promising to reverse this trend in December, his DOT and his broken promise of removing cannabis from its classification as a Schedule 1 drug, are wrecking havoc on the industry.
Just 5 months into 2022 and truckers being pulled from the road thanks to DOT policy and archaic federal cannabis laws has risen over 30% from last year. According to the latest DOT numbers, during the same period in 2021, the department had pulled 7,750 truckers for cannabis use. During this same period for 2022, that number has jumped to 10,276.
These are not truckers smoking weed while driving either. These are truckers using hemp-based products like CBD and partaking in legal recreational or medicinal cannabis programs in their legal states.
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One would think that our current supply chain shortage rising to a point of unsustainability would be a warning sign to bureaucrats to quickly ease the guidelines on cannabis. Unfortunately, however, one would be wrong.
“While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana,” a DOT handbook for commercial vehicle drivers reads. “Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.”
The increase in truckers getting pulled from the roads for cannabis is not due to increased use of cannabis either. Instead, it is due to the DOT increasing testing for it.
In January 2020, the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) upped the random drug testing rate from 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50%. Truck drivers are mainly screened for drug use via urinalysis, but there are now new saliva tests being proposed as well.
If a driver who uses legal CBD oil pops on a drug test, that driver meets the grounds for permanent termination under DOT regulations. At the very minimum, once a driver is found with cannabis in their system, they are taken off the road for months and required to complete a substance misuse evaluation and rehabilitation process.
According to the FMCSA’s monthly report, 89,650 commercial drivers are currently in prohibited status as of April 1, 2022, but 67,368 of them have not begun the RTD process.
This cycle is being deliberately facilitated by the federal government, and if it continues, we can expect further supply chain disruptions, massive price increases, and shortages live we've never before seen.
And when this inevitably comes... remember that it was all preventable.