Department of Transportation Clarifies Stance on Marijuana Use

By Judy Greenwald

Dec. 3, 2012

Despite recent state initiatives that decriminalize marijuana, the federal Department of Transportation does not authorize the use of Schedule 1 drugs, including marijuana, “for any reason,” said a DOT official in a statement issued Dec. 3.

Colorado and Washington voters approved measures decriminalizing marijuana in November. Jim L. Swart, director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, said in a statement the department has received “several inquiries about whether these state initiatives will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety-sensitive transportation employees,” which include pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire-armed security personnel, ship captains and pipeline emergency response personnel.

“We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing” on the DOT’s regulated drug testing program, said the statement. The department’s medical review officers will not verify a drug test as negative upon learning the employee used recreational marijuana, it said. Nor will it verify a drug test negative if a physician recommends the employee use medical marijuana, it said.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. Comment below or email

Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog


A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping