How to Solve the Trucking Industry’s Cannabis Problem
October 22nd, 2021
News, Top Story
The federal government heavily regulates the trucking industry. For instance, drivers have to log how many hours they’ve rested each day to ensure they meet mandatory minimums. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Department of Transportation prohibits drivers from using any Schedule I substance and subjects all drivers to drug testing.
In January of 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also launched a drug and alcohol clearinghouse to provide a national database of drug and alcohol offenses for trucking companies. As a result, upwards of 47,000 drivers have been disqualified from the trucking industry, and half of those violations are for marijuana use.
The problem is that marijuana is legal in a growing number of states, and marijuana testing detects long-term use. In other words, many of these drivers may consume cannabis during their free time and come to work entirely sober but still test positive for marijuana use. The result is tens of thousands of drivers that may have been unjustly targeted.
Why the Trucking Industry Cares
The sudden disqualification of tens of thousands of drivers exacerbated the industry’s already severe driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Association, the U.S. driver shortage will grow from 60,000 drivers in 2019 to 100,000 by 2023. As a result, many trucking companies are starting to look abroad and sponsoring visas for drivers.
Bloomberg’s measure of driver shortages reaches a high amid the pandemic. Source: Bloomberg
A better solution may be better drug testing. Unlike alcohol, marijuana is metabolized much slower in the body, and positive tests may occur when drivers consumed cannabis weeks ago. With a breathalyzer-like test that focusses on recent usage, the trucking industry could have access to tens of thousands more domestic drivers to address the labor shortage.
The same solution could also help the government achieve its broader goal of decriminalizing marijuana without creating safety hazards. The trucking industry provides a high-paying career without a college education, opening the door to a wider labor pool benefits both the industry and people looking for higher-paying jobs.
Breathalyzers Provide a Solution
Cannabix Technologies Inc. (CSE: BLO, US OTC: BLOZF) is developing breath testing technologies that trucking companies can use at the point of care to detect recent marijuana use. Unlike urine, hair, or blood samples, breath samples can be used to detect recent marijuana use (within a 1-3 hours) rather than weeks or months, which better correlates with actual impairment.
Cannabix detects recent use when there’s peak impairment. Source: Cannabix
In September, the company announced that it was ramping up subject beta testing in a high-volume clinic in the Northwestern U.S. and will ship additional THC Breath Analyzer units to the site. The company also began preliminary discussions with potential manufacturers in North America as it gears up for commercialization.
The trucking industry faces a lot of regulation, but its marijuana rules are hampered by testing limitations. Fortunately, Cannabix Technologies Inc. (CSE: BLO, US OTC: BLOZF) is developing a solution that will enable better testing and could help more drivers stay on the road. The result could be a win-win-win for the industry, drivers, and for public safety.
For more information, visit the company’s website.
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