Thursday, September 27, 2018
State-level legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has affected the US truck driving industry. For example, according to Marty Cook of Arkansas Business, the legalization of medical marijuana in Arkansas seems to have sparked a conflicting trend, a decrease in applicants for truck driving jobs.
Cook notes that J.B. Hunt, a kingpin of the Arkansas transportation industry, said that "the advance of legalized medical and recreational marijuana could dry up [our] driver pool even more." J.B. Hunt uses hair-follicle testing for drugs, an effective method for detecting longterm drug use, that dissuades many "would-be drivers" from applying.
J.B. Hunt and other Arkansas employers that use such drug testing methods are in compliance with Act 539. The Arkansas legislature established workplace guidelines for medical marijuana after Arkansas voters approved it in July 2017. With the legislature's passage of Act 539 in March 2017, state occupations were divided into two categories: safety-sensitive and non-safety-sensitive. The act provided that "job applicants or workers in safety-sensitive positions who failed a drug test could be terminated or reassigned."
But as Cook's article points out, a study by Quest Diagnostics, the national drug testing lab service, reported that overall drug use within the Arkansas workforce decreased in 2017. The national rate held steady at 4.2 percent of the workforce, while Arkansas's rate dropped from 6 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017.