It’s no surprise that marijuana was the number one culprit for failed drug tests in May 2020 according to data from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This organization is overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Their purpose is to provide and enforce the safety guidelines that all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders must follow.
As marijuana legalization sweeps the nation, many federal agencies like these are struggling to hire and maintain drug-free employees. There is a common misconception that if marijuana is legal in your state, it won’t impact any employment decisions, even for federal positions. If you or someone you know uses marijuana and has an interest in a Department of Transportation (DOT) position, follow these tips to reduce your risk of failing a drug screen.
Know Your Product
Products with Cannabidiol (CBD) are known to cause problems in the drug screening process. Even though these products claim to not contain any THC (the chemical that creates a high), they derive it from the same plant as the products with THC. Inevitably, trace amounts of THC may be present in CBD products. There is currently no federal oversight to ensure the labels on these products are correct.
Furthermore, the U.S. DOT says that a driver claiming to use a CBD product is not an acceptable explanation for a positive test result. In short, drivers should not take a company’s word for it if they claim that their CBD product is 100% THC free. There is no guarantee that this is true.
Know Your Time Frame
Depending on how often an individual uses marijuana and how their body metabolizes it, the amount of time it takes to leave your system can vary dramatically. THC is fat-soluble. This means it binds to fat molecules in your body and stays in your system longer than most drugs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average lengths of time that THC is detectable in urine tests are as follows: single use – 3 days, moderate use (4 times a week) – 5 to 7 days, chronic use (daily) – 10 to 15 days, and heavy use – 30 days or more. If you used marijuana and are making the transition to a federal job, the best course of action is to purchase at-home drug testing kits. This way you can make sure your test is negative before you apply.
Know Your Company
As mentioned previously, a legalized state does not mean employees have free reign on their marijuana use. It’s important to know your own organization’s policies regarding drug use. Most federally appointed positions require random drug testing to ensure compliance. They have a zero-tolerance policy for any and all drug use, especially the U.S. DOT.
This impacts an employee who tests positive just once in their career. Their employment options will be severely limited in their field and with any other federal agency. In summary, it is crucial that employees understand the implications that marijuana use can have on their career. It is always better to err on the side of caution. Take the necessary precautions when it comes to your professional reputation.