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New Jersey truck drivers still face marijuana testing

On Nov. 8, voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine opted to make recreational marijuana legal. They joined residents of Colorado and Washington who had voted in favor of making recreational marijuana legal in 2012. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation says that truck drivers cannot use the substance and drive. This will be true as long as the drug is a Schedule I substance under federal law.

Drug testing laws do not start and end with the DOT. Instead, the Office of National Drug Control Policy would have to take action with regards to drug testing policy. From there, the DOT could then begin implementing changes if it wanted to. This was according to a spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The DOT's position is similar to one it held in 2012 when Washington and Colorado first legalized marijuana.

In a statement made in 2012, the DOT said that it was unacceptable for truck drivers subject to drug testing to use marijuana. In addition to the states that now allow recreational marijuana use, there are 28 states that allow the substance to be used for medical purposes. During the Nov. 8 election, voters in Montana voted to loosen medical marijuana laws while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voters made the practice legal.

A truck driver who was using marijuana prior to an accident might be held financially responsible if the nexus can be made between impairment and the accident. However, as there is yet to be a standardized method for measuring impairment in this regard, attorneys representing injured victims may need to rely on other traditional forms of evidence such as the police investigation report.

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