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ATA aims second letter at Buttigieg to raise alarm over relaxing marijuana classification

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The American Trucking Associations sent a second letter to the nation’s Transportation Secretary Thursday in a continued attempt to raise alarm over marijuana reclassification. 

Federal authorities announced a proposal that would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug back in May. Since then, the ATA has voiced concern over highway safety risks involving marijuana. 

Following the May proposal, the ATA sent letters of concerns to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, citing the fact that reclassifying the drug could prevent testing for the drug across the transportation industry. On Thursday, June 20th, the ATA sent another letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg voicing similar concerns over the reclassification proposal. 

“This major policy shift could have significant negative consequences for highway safety, endangering all who share the road,” the ATA said in a statement. “ATA is asking Secretary Buttigieg to share whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will maintain the authority and means to conduct testing of marijuana use by commercial motor vehicle drivers and other safety-sensitive transportation workers.”

“If the trucking and broader transportation industries’ ability to conduct drug testing for marijuana use is restricted, a heightened risk of impaired drivers threatens our nation’s roadways.  The absence of a reliable standard for marijuana impairment – in alignment with blood alcohol content measures for alcohol impairment – makes it all the more vital for motor carriers to have visibility into marijuana usage.”
 “While ATA does not maintain a formal position on marijuana legalization or the ongoing testing of non-safety sensitive employees under HHS’s Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, we remain concerned about the broad public health and safety consequences of reclassification on the national highway system and its users,” said American Trucking Associations Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Safety Policy Dan Horvath.

“Though ATA understands that the process and content of DOJ’s rulemaking falls outside the purview of DOT, we believe DOT and ATA share the goals of achieving zero highway fatalities and ensuring the commercial driving workforce is qualified to safely operate on our nation’s roadways.”

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