The federal DOT health history form can cause an automatic disqualification when it comes to marijuana history.
While marijuana has been decriminalized in 32 states, it remains illegal at the federal level. This means workers who are required to be tested under federal and state law (such as commercial motor vehicle drivers) can still be drug tested for marijuana.
However, this is leading to confusion about whether drivers operating CMVs without a commercial driver’s license can legally use marijuana in states where it is legal.
Non-CDL drivers that drive a commercial motor vehicle are often hotshot carriers driving an F-350, a part of the construction, waste, or landscape industries, or are local distribution drivers.
While these non-CDL drivers are not required to be in a drug testing program like their CDL counterparts, they still must pass a DOT physical to obtain a medical card.
It is this federally regulated medical card process that can get non-CDL drivers into trouble.
Non-CDL disqualification due to marijuana use
Non-CDL drivers of a CMV are not required to have a DOT drug test and many companies and drivers assume it is okay to consume marijuana in states where it is legal.
However, the federal DOT health history form can cause an automatic disqualification when it comes to marijuana history.
According to the federal regulations under FMCSR 49 Part 391, the use of Schedule 1 drugs by a driver is an automatic disqualification from operating a CMV.
There two questions on this form that can disqualify non-CDL drivers with past marijuana use:
- 31. Have you used an illegal substance within the past two years?
- 32. Have you ever failed a drug test or been dependent on an illegal substance?
Marking “yes” warrants either a non-federal drug test or an automatic disqualification.
If a non-CDL driver tests positive on this drug test, they are not subject to any DOT drug testing requirements (such as the SAP process, unless their company policy requires it) but are automatically disqualified from obtaining a medical card and operating a commercial motor vehicle.
If this driver wanted to get a medical card in the future, they would have to fill out the federal form again and answer the two illegal substance questions again.
Based on the federal form, the driver may have to wait two years to get their medical card, otherwise be subject to the penalties.
If the driver lies on the form and is caught in a DOT investigation, the false information may cause civil or criminal penalties under 49 CFR 390.37 and 49CFR 386.
Where to get a DOT physical exam?
CNS offers DOT physical exams at our location in Lititz, PA with our Certified Medical Examiner (CME), and we also have mobile DOT physicals available in certain states.
If you are a part of our Drug and Alcohol Consortium, we can assist in finding a location to obtain a DOT physical or drug test nationwide.