Question About Former Medical Marijuana User

Topic 23769 | Page 1

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Devin M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, my name is Devin and this is my first post.

I've long been considering getting a CDL as driving is my one true passion and I enjoy doing it day in and day out. I was a medical marijuana patient here in NY state (I chose that option to deal with a back injury rather than the highly addictive painkillers.) I'm aware that it is not possible to hold a CDL while a user of controlled substances (and that drug testing is an integrated part of the job.) However at the card's expiration I'm choosing not to renew (cant afford it due to insurance not covering it and theres ironically more stigma against it here than opiates, even with local drug crises.

I spoke to a recruiter from Swift and he stated that any marijuana use, medical or recreational, was a three year disqualification for them. By chance has anyone on this forum been in a similar circumstance/know any companies that would hire/train once it is out of the system?

On a side note, I'm finding it sad personally how much of an issue the opiate crisis has been here yet how much discrimination is given to thosewho find alternate methods of treating pain (medical marijuana or otherwise,) many here seem to prefer people to take the addictive medicine but then wonder why there's an issue.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Discrimination on what grounds?

We covered this ground before... it’s a sensitive issue that few on the outside of this industry understand or accept.

Trucking companies qualify candidates to determine the level of risk if hired and scrutinize anything in a candidate’s past or present that can potentially compromise safety.

Unfortunately they are all extremely strict and selective when qualifying anyone who has ingested a controlled substance (yes, even with a script) use or have alcohol abuse in their past. It’s not discrimination when considering the mass and power of the machines we operate. Any substance that can impair mental and/or motor skills is unacceptable.

I suggest calling around to any company on this link: Paid CDL Training Programs. You might find one or two willing to give you a chance.

Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Devin M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for the reply, I’ve been looking around and the majority of people I’ve seen asking similar questions either used it recreationally or are current medical users, in my case I’m ceasing it.

The discrimination has been mostly by medical professionals, those who hadn’t prescribed it. The program is new in my state and there’s a lot of misinformation and lack of training about it, so there’s a lot of patients (at least in my region) that are having a hard time with their other doctors. (I also live in a rather conservative area so that could be contributing.)

I understand the risks and their reasoning, and completely agree with their measures (driving any vehicle under the influence of any controlled substance is unacceptable, in my opinion.

I would assume their reasoning for wanting a period to clear is that they’re concerned with people continuing to use a substance, even if ceasing legal use?

Would you recommend asking the prospective companies upfront and explaining my situation immediately or wait until further into the process?

I really appreciate your response as well as this site as a whole, it’s very helpful for someone with limited knowledge of the real ins and outs of the career.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I would assume their reasoning for wanting a period to clear is that they’re concerned with people continuing to use a substance, even if ceasing legal use?

Yes. It's a very black and white issue in trucking. You simply can't take anything at all that may inhibit your ability to drive safely. It makes no difference if it's legal or not, prescribed or not. If it inhibits your ability to drive you can't use it at all. So yes, they would like to see some evidence that you're committed to this career and you're going to be able to stop using something indefinitely.

Would you recommend asking the prospective companies upfront and explaining my situation immediately or wait until further into the process?

I would simply stay clean for 6 months and then apply for training and get started with your career. At that point you should be able to pass any sort of test and none of this should be a concern. I don't see the need to explain anything to anyone. Either you're clean and you can pass a drug test, or not. It's pretty black and white. So as long as you're clean and you can pass a test, you're good to go.

Devin M.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like a plan, thank you for the response Brett. I wasn’t planning on immediately getting into this (I need to continue research on companies) so 6 months isn’t really a stretch.

Also as a side question, do you view the company sponsored training programs to be better than dedicated schools/programs? There is a vocational school beside my apartment which offers courses to get your permit and CDL ($189 and $1,999 respectively.) From what I’ve read so far it seems most companies require driving experience (though several local companies are only listing the CDL and not requiring drivers experience, per their listing.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Local companies almost always require driving experience because local work entails a lot of driving in heavy traffic, tight schedules, and lots of backing into extremely difficult places. New drivers really shouldn't consider local work until they get a year of experience OTR , but some have done it. It doesn't always end well for them, though.

Why You Should Not Start Your Trucking Career As A Local Driver

Also as a side question, do you view the company sponsored training programs to be better than dedicated schools/programs?

Yeah, we do. Here's an article I wrote about it explaining why:

Why I Prefer Paid CDL Training Over Private CDL Training

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

I am in exactly the same boat. I was until July, and hopefully it will be out of my system by the time I get to my employer for orientation in January. The only thing I find discriminatory is that in NY, medical marijuana is not smoking marijuana, it is simply a pill or oil that does not get you high, or at least it didn't get me high. On the other hand, it didn't help with pain either, but maybe it doesn't do much for broken bones.

Most companies do hair testing, which will go back up to a year. Basically, it stays in your hair forever, but as your hair grows out, it gets cut off, or in the case of body hair, falls out and is replaced.

Your hair normally grows 1/2" every 30 days. So if you quit for 6 months, and cut your hair to 1 1/2" and keep it there, you should pass. My problem is my hair has been growing since August, and is only 1" long, if that. My hair seems to grow about 1/4" every 30 days.

My plan was to tell them about the medical marijuana use upfront, but after Swift's reaction, I am not sure if I should or not. My though was honesty was the best policy, but now I'm not so sure.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Grumpy you must disclose the use of it on your medical long form because there is an electronic record of your medical history you give them full authorization to review. If you lie, and get caught, you are unlikely to find employment for a long time and run the risk of criminal action because these forms are federally regulated, legal documents.

Huge mistake to lie on a medical form, huge mistake.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

Grumpy you must disclose the use of it on your medical long form because there is an electronic record of your medical history you give them full authorization to review. If you lie, and get caught, you are unlikely to find employment for a long time and run the risk of criminal action because these forms are federally regulated, legal documents.

Huge mistake to lie on a medical form, huge mistake.

I would not have lied, I had intended to bring it up at the hair test, but was rethinking volunteering it. But yes, if it is on a medical history form, I definitely would not falsify it. Thanks for the info.

I was just looking on NY State's site for my prescription, it must have expired since I never went back to the doctor. I'll have to contact him for my records to take with me.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
member avatar

In NY the medical card uses your driver's license number for ID, I'm surprised they don't already know. Maybe because I haven't authorized medical access yet, or at least not that I remember.

But yes, I have been upfront about everything so far. Lying about it would be worse, even if it weren't federal, I'm sure.

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