Fleet Industry Tries to “Weed” Out Risk Among Drivers Now Legally Allowed to Buy Marijuana

Although most states have legalized THC usage in some form, businesses are stumbling through a cannabis policy haze as they try to sort out what changing regulations mean for insurance lines like Workers’ Compensation (WC). A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research challenges the long-held concern that the legalization of marijuana increases workplace injury and WC claims; they report that WC claims decreased and overall productivity increased. 

But what does this mean for industries that are inherently higher risk to begin with? The trucking industry is grappling with this very question. No one wants a driver with reduced reaction times or judgment operating a 26,000-pound piece of machinery, putting both themselves and others in danger.

Fleets that require a commercial driver’s license are subject to federal regulation, which still rules any type of marijuana use as illegal. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires drug testing for commercial driver’s license holders, and over half of the 80,000 failed alcohol and drug tests since January 2020 were from marijuana. What makes this particularly tricky, though, is that a breathalyzer only detects if someone is currently intoxicated, not if they had a few too many beers over the weekend. By contrast, someone can fail a drug test from taking legally obtained marijuana days or weeks prior. 

Losing a driver due to a failed drug test puts a fleet in a crunch (especially now when there’s an industry-wide shortage of drivers), so fleet companies are doubling down on training to help managers identify signs of marijuana use and implementing programs to try to retain good drivers who may have failed a drug test in the past. Read more here

One thing is certain: commercial fleet companies—and many other higher risk industries / businesses—will be sorting through cannabis-related WC implications for many years to come. At Jencap, we are brokerage experts in Workers Compensation Insurance and specialize in cannabis risks. Contact us today to learn how we can partner together and set you and your client’s up for success on your next deal.

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