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October 8, 2019 7:15 PM, EDT

ATA Establishes Policies on Recreational Marijuana Laws

Chris Spear Chris Spear by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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SAN DIEGO — American Trucking Associations executives have approved a set of policies meant to help the industry safely operate amid the growing legalization of recreational marijuana.

ATA announced the policies at the group’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition on Oct. 8. The policies were developed by ATA’s newly formed Controlled Substances, Driver Health and Wellness Subcommittee.

“ATA has long been an advocate for reducing impaired driving in all its forms, so it only makes sense that we would call upon state and federal governments to consider the impact of increased use of marijuana on our roadways,” ATA President Chris Spear said. “As an industry that operates in all 50 states and across national borders, we need all levels of government to help us keep our roads and drivers drug-free.”

Specifically, the new policies call for the government to uphold the right of employers to test for marijuana, support lifting federal restrictions on marijuana research and encourage more research on the drug’s impact on impairment, support the development of oral fluid testing and impairment standards and call for a marijuana victims compensation fund. The fund would be paid for by dispensaries and those who cultivate and manufacture marijuana.

According to ATA’s press release, more than 93 million Americans live in areas where the drug is legal for recreational use.

Outgoing ATA Chairman Barry Pottle, CEO of Pottle’s Transportation, said he and Spear worked to create the Controlled Substances, Driver Health and Wellness Subcommittee. Spear formally announced the launch of the group during his state of the industry remarks Oct. 7. The group, co-chaired by Harold Sumerford, CEO of J&M Tank Lines, and Paul Enos, CEO of the Nevada Trucking Association, met for the first time Oct. 5 at MCE.

“I think that’s been one of my biggest accomplishments this year,” Pottle said.

ATA previously established policies calling for the government to allow alternative drug testing methods, the creation of a national database of positive drug and alcohol test results and anti-impaired driving laws.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation only sanctions urine drug testing for “safety-sensitive” prospective employees such as truck drivers. Although there was a congressional mandate for hair drug testing in 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services has yet to propose a rule on the issue.

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