Responding to several inquiries, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has made it clear that state initiatives to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes will have no impact on the agency's long-standing regulations about the use of marijuana by safety-sensitive employees. Safety-sensitive employees include pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire-armed security personnel, ship captains and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.

According to DOT, the state initiatives will have no bearing on the agency's regulated drug-testing program. Marijuana is still listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, says DOT, and the use of Schedule I drugs is not authorized for any reason by safety-sensitive employees subject to drug testing.

Medical Review Officers (MROs) will not verify a drug test as negative based upon learning that the employee used "recreational marijuana," even when states have passed recreational marijuana measures. DOT also repeated its position that an MRO will not verify a drug test as negative based upon the information that a physician recommended that the employee use "medical marijuana" under a state- approved initiative.

In the 2012 election, voters in Washington and Colorado passed measures legalizing recreational use of marijuana for people ages 21 or older.

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