Commercial Drivers Are Embracing Cannabis Despite Risking Termination

The cannabis industry is booming, and the commercial drivers that are driving it are embracing a culture of risk to get ahead.

The veriheal reviews are a product that is being used by commercial drivers to help them safely consume cannabis while on the job. The product helps by providing an accurate THC level in the blood, which can be used to determine if someone has been driving under the influence of marijuana or not.

According to the latest data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), commercial drivers like cannabis. In fact, cannabis appears in commercial drivers’ drug tests more often than any other illegal substance (CDLs). While the rules around cannabis are slowly catching up to public opinion, many CDL holders still encounter prohibition-era challenges in finding and maintaining work.

It’s popular among drivers, although it’s against the law.

According to the FMCSA, in the first half of 2020, 98 percent of failed drug and alcohol tests by licensed commercial drivers were for drugs rather than alcohol. There were just 892 drivers who failed an alcohol drug test in total. However, this is more likely due to the drugs’ metabolization than the drivers’ substance usage. Unlike cannabis, which may be detected for weeks or even months after use, alcohol exits the body in less than 24 hours.

For commercial drivers, who are required by the DOT to submit pre-employment urine tests, this implies they may drink alcohol while working, but cannabis is strictly prohibited. A driver may pass a test the next day after being inebriated, but a joint smoked weeks before a shift may easily result in dismissal.

Despite this, CDL holders take the risk of overindulging in the green. In the first half of 2020, more than half of the 40,433 tests for cannabis came back positive. Despite the fact that several states have chosen to legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, the FMCSA remains unforgiving. According to Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy at the FMCSA, even if a CDL holder travels a state that permits recreational cannabis use, it is illegal for them to consume.

While a failed drug test does not always mean that a driver’s career is over, the blemish on their record may be so difficult to remove that many people choose to pursue other opportunities. Heartbreaking tales abound on online forums about drivers who failed random tests and didn’t have the time or resources to complete the DOT-mandated return-to-duty procedure.

One driver, who characterized his cannabis usage as “casual and infrequent,” recounted his experience with the procedure, which included considerable travel and hundreds of dollars in worthless classes. While the driver took full responsibility for the failed drug test, he voiced dissatisfaction with existing DOT regulations:

“I can legally drink the night before I drive and then drive the following day with a hangover. I can drive while chatting on the phone and utilizing a hands-free gadget. After two hours of sleep, I’m ready to go to work. Allowing someone to drive while having trace components of marijuana in their system is statistically more hazardous. There is no scientific proof that I am too intoxicated to drive 30 days after using marijuana. However, the legally required ramifications of my failing drug test suggest that I am.”

Failed drug and alcohol tests remain on a driver’s record for three years after the return-to-duty procedure is completed. Employers are also required to keep certain drug and alcohol testing data for at least five years—all for a single infraction.

Why Are Commercial Drivers Using Cannabis?

Consumers rely on commercial drivers to link them to all physical products. Those behind the wheel put their bodies through hell to guarantee that everything we need reaches our shops and doorsteps as part of logistics. Long periods of immobility, combined with the lifestyle of working on the road, may result in a variety of health problems, many of which can be treated with cannabis treatments.

According to the CDC, 14 percent of truck drivers have diabetes, which is more than double the rate of the overall workforce. Diabetes may cause heart disease, blindness, renal failure, and other complications. Another disease that truck drivers are more likely to develop is high blood pressure, often known as hypertension: Truck drivers have hypertension at a rate of 26%, compared to 24% of the working population in the United States.

Heart disease and stroke are two of the top causes of mortality in the United States, and hypertension raises the risk of both. Furthermore, data indicate that obesity and cigarette addiction are considerably greater among truck drivers than among the overall working population. Heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and a variety of other health problems are all linked to smoking and fat.

With all of these things in mind, it’s easy to see why so many CDL holders use marijuana—and it seems cruel to prohibit them from utilizing a natural treatment that may help them cope with the consequences of such a tough lifestyle.

It’s time to make some policy adjustments.

CDL holders aren’t the only ones who have made the switch to cannabis. According to a AAA study, over 14.8 million drivers confessed to using cannabis within an hour of driving. While drivers should always be mindful of their ability to drive safely, it is important to note that cannabis—a plant with chemicals that interact particularly with our bodies’ endogenous endocannabinoid system—does not impair in the same way that alcohol does.

Of course, the majority of commercial drivers who test positive for cannabis are not likely to be high at the time of the test or while driving. Cannabis, in fact, lasts much longer in the body than many other drugs, including those that are unquestionably more hazardous for drivers. According to Heavy Duty Trucking, fat-soluble THC will show up on a urine drug test for 30 to 45 days after use, while “cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, MDMA, and heroin are typically only detected after three to six days of usage.”

Our job decisions should not be influenced by what we put in our bodies. Stories of business drivers being booted off the road for innocuous cannabis usage will hopefully become a thing of the past as more cannabis research comes to light, prompting legalization.

Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist who is working to abolish prohibition across the world for a brighter future for everyone. Ashley is passionate about spreading knowledge about the goddess plant known as cannabis. She thinks that a single seed can tilt the scales, and that by working together to remove the stigma around cannabis, we can help it reach its full potential worldwide.

The veriheal virginia is a commercial driver who has been using cannabis to treat his chronic pain. He has risked termination from his job, but he believes the risk was worth it.

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