DOT Clarifies Legal, Medical Marijuana A Prohibited Schedule I Drug

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance has issued notices clarifying that although some states have passed initiatives to permit the use of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes, such legislation has no bearing on DOT’s regulated drug testing program.
marijuana leaf

The office said it had received inquiries about whether state initiatives will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety-sensitive transportation employees—pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, armed transit security services personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.

“The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation—49 CFR Part 40—does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason,” the notices clarify. “Therefore, medical review officers (MROs) will not verify a drug test as negative based upon learning that the employee has used recreational marijuana when states have passed recreational marijuana initiatives. We also firmly reiterate that an MRO will not verify a drug test negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee
use medical marijuana when states have passed medical marijuana initiatives.”

Jim Swart, director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, said, “It is important to note that marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It remains unacceptable for any safety-sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana. We want to assure the traveling public that our transportation system is the safest it can possibly be.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 24, 2017. Subscribe at