DOT ‘Recreational’ Marijuana Notice


Recently, some states passed initiatives to permit use ofmarijuana for so-called “recreational” purposes.

We have had several inquiries about whether these stateinitiatives will have an impact upon the Department ofTransportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuanaby safety‐sensitive transportation employees – pilots, school busdrivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraftmaintenance personnel, transit fire‐armed security personnel, shipcaptains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, amongothers.

We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiativeswill have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’sregulated drug testing program. The Department of Transportation’sDrug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40 – does notauthorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for anyreason.

Therefore, Medical Review Officers (MROs) will verify a drug testas negative based upon learning that the employee used”recreational marijuana” when states have passed “recreationalmarijuana” initiatives.

We also firmly reiterate that an MRO will not verify a drug testnegative based upon information that a physician recommended thatthe employee use “medical marijuana” when states have passed”medical marijuana” initiatives.

It is important to note that marijuana remains a drug listed inSchedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.  It remainsunacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drugtesting under the Department of Transportation’s drug testingregulations to use marijuana.

We want to assure the traveling public that our transportationsystem is the safest it can possibly be.

Jim L. Swart


Office of the Secretary of Transportation

Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance

Department of Transportation

December 3,2012

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