Marijuana bill passes House; measure wouldn’t remove testing for truckers

December 4, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 228-164 passed the MORE Act, which removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.

If the MORE Act becomes law, it would decriminalize marijuana but it would not stop truck drivers from being tested for marijuana. Language was added to the bill on Nov. 30 that would allow drug tests to be required for any Schedule I substance and any substance that was considered a Schedule I as of Dec. 1, 2018, and specified by the secretary of transportation.

Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I substance, which is defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Other examples of Schedule I drugs, which is the strictest designation, include heroin, LSD and peyote. Cocaine and methamphetamine are listed a notch below as Schedule II drugs.

Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would take it off the Schedule I list, but the recent tweak to the bill means that employees in safety-sensitive transportation jobs, such as truck drivers and pilots, would allow the U.S. DOT to keep marijuana testing in place.

The House vote was mostly partisan with only six Democrats voting against the bill and only five Republicans voting for the bill. That means the chances of the bill passing the Republican-controlled Senate are extremely slim.

CBD products

In February, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice telling those in safety-sensitive positions and subject to drug testing to be wary of CBD products, which have become mainstream in recent years.

Although the products can be purchased legally, they can include varying amounts of THS. Marijuana is defined as having 0.3% psychotropic THC.

“Since the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, Department of Transportation-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products,” the DOT wrote. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.