Facing a hiring crisis that has ramifications on national security and more, the Space Force announced a new pilot program that would grant certain applicants who test positive for THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, a chance to retest and possibly join the ranks. Now, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken this knowledge and taking their policy a step forward.
Since Covid, the US and other countries have faced an upended supply chain. DOT, which not only oversees federal roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure also oversees policy for truck drivers, ship captains, train engineers and airline pilots. During Covid, DOT, the US and the world struggled with not enough drivers for freight. While currently it seems to be easing, the forecast looks grim otherwise.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has finalized a rule to amend its drug testing policy in a way that could have significant implications for truckers, commercial drivers, pilots and other federally regulated transit workers who use marijuana off the job. This brings it almost in line with their alcohol testing policy.
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The change would allow oral saliva drug testing as an alternative to urine-based tests, similar to what they do with alcohol. The new testing, like alcohol, shows what is in the system for the last 24 hours and a deeper dive shows 80 hours (roughly 3.5 days).
Urine tests for THC are unreliable as metabolites can show up for weeks or months after consumption. Said tests often result in false positive results for people who are not actually impaired on the job, but have consumed on their free time. These ‘false positives’ are noteworthy because the DOT data released in January showed tens of thousands of commercial truckers have tested positive for marijuana as part of federally mandated screenings and a significant portion of those truckers refused to return to work, contributing to the labor shortage.
The updated policy bring marijuana in line with alcohol testing. No one wants freight truck driven with people under the influence and this policy moves toward letting people’s free time be there free time to do as they please.
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Other positive news is last year the military changed policy for veterans can use medical marijuana without losing their eligibility for care and services, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.