Mile high in Colorado? Not for commercial truckers

Jan. 1, 2014, was a milestone date in Colorado. It was the date that residents, and non-residents alike, could purchase marijuana legally for recreational use. While many in the state, and nation (Washington state will be enacting a similar law this spring), will be watching closely to see what impacts the law will have, if any, there is a more problematic issue for employees.

According to the Denver Post’s new website, The Canabist (yes, the Post launched a website dedicated to all things marijuana – the paper even hired a “marijuana editor”), many Colorado residents were shocked to learn that if they failed a drug test at work, even if they smoked marijuana off-duty, they could lose their jobs.

“Right now there is a great deal of confusion,” attorney Danielle Urban of law firm Fisher & Phillips, told the Cannabist. “People are surprised to learn that they can lose their jobs.”

The Colorado law stipulates that employers who have company policies against marijuana use may enforce those policies, up to and including termination, even though it is legal for employees to use the substance outside of work.

Drivers, including commercial drivers, will still be subject to the state’s driving impairment laws. So while you may want to indulge in a little weed, a little too much could have the same detrimental effect on your license as too much alcohol.

For commercial truckers, of course, this should not be a big inconvenience. Marijuana is still an illegal substance as far as the federal government and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is concerned, so any positive drug test by a trucker will jeopardize their career.

So if you are passing through Colorado and have to sit for that mandated 34-hour restart that everyone hates so much, it’s best to ignore that temptation to walk over to the new cannabist retail shop for a quick puff of relaxation.

Unless you want that to be the last 34-hour restart you ever need to take.

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