In a letter, the Canadian Trucking Alliance told Health Canada, the country’s national system of healthcare, that it should not make exceptions for commercial truck drivers using medicinal marijuana while on the job.
The CTA is calling for more oversight from the medical community when prescribing the drug to workers in safety sensitive positions. The CTA reiterated its stance that there should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana.
“As we understand it, many prescribing physicians are unaware of what their patients do for a living,” said Stephen Laskowski, CTA president. “In turn, some people who are medically authorized to use marijuana might believe this somehow exempts them from impaired driving laws. Obviously in the case of safety sensitive work, such as trucking which shares its workplace with the motoring public, this can be of serious concern.”
CTA is asking the Canadian government to follow the U.S. approach of not differentiating between recreational and medical use of pot among drivers. The CTA suggests that physicians should sign-off that they are aware of what their patient does for a living and affirm that marijuana is the most appropriate treatment for the conditions.
“If the true goal is public safety for all road users then it shouldn’t matter whether it’s being used for recreational or medicinal purposes,” said Laskowski. “Commercial drivers are already held to the highest standards of safety and this shouldn’t be any different.”
CTA also echoed statements it made to other government agencies that motor carriers need more legislative support to implement zero tolerance and random testing policies without being at risk of human rights challenges. While there may be opposition toward zero tolerance and random testing requirements for prescribing physicians, CTA’s Laskowski stressed that safety should be the number one priority when dealing with safety sensitive work and the well-being of Canadian motorists.
“While it's already standard industry practice for companies to adhere to strict zero-tolerance policies requiring drivers to be 100% sober while on the job, it is imperative employers are free to apply the appropriate workplace measures that will mitigate additional safety risks to employees and the public that legalized marijuana could bring,” said Laskowski.