Marijuana Laws and Commercial Vehicle Drivers

Wisconsin has not legalized marijuana, not even medicinally, but some neighboring states have. If you have found medical benefits in the use of marijuana or simply enjoy its recreational use, you may think nothing of crossing over the state line where the laws are more lax than at home. However, if you are a truck driver, it may not be worth taking such a risk.

Even though many states have legalized the use of marijuana — medically, recreationally or both — the Department of Transportation has not approved its use in any way for truckers. Truckers found to have THC, the most potent psychoactive component in marijuana, in their systems face the possibility of serious and life-altering consequences.

Understanding THC

THC levels remain in your system much longer than alcohol. In fact, the chemical is still present in your blood long after the pleasurable effects of the drug wear off. Some chemical studies show that someone who smokes pot daily may have THC in his or her system for as long as 30 days.

This could mean trouble if you smoke in a state where marijuana is legal but get pulled over and tested in Wisconsin. If tests show any trace of THC in your system, DOT regulations consider you to be impaired. Even if you hold a valid registration card for medical marijuana in a state where the drug is approved for that purpose, federal trucking regulations may supersede that privilege.

The consequences of a positive test

A positive test result for marijuana in your system while driving a commercial vehicle can mean the following possible consequences:

  • Arrest for operating a commercial vehicle while impaired
  • Fines, jail and other legal penalties appropriate for the circumstances, if convicted
  • Termination from your job as a commercial vehicle driver
  • Suspension of your CDL license

The loss of your license and an OWI conviction on your record may mean you will no longer be able to work in your chosen field.

Transporting marijuana

You may not even have THC in your system, but if you carry medical marijuana over state lines, you risk arrest. In states where the sale of medical cannabis is legal, the drug must be grown within state lines because transporting it from another state is a violation of federal law. Therefore, if you have your personal marijuana with you when you cross into Wisconsin, you may face criminal charges.

If you drive a truck for a living, you should give serious consideration about whether it is worth the risk to possess or use marijuana, even for medical reasons, especially in the state of Wisconsin. Seeking legal assistance as soon as you encounter trouble related to marijuana use is a critical step in protecting your future.