We all know it’s hard to find new drivers, especially young drivers. So imagine for a second that a 26-year-old man walked into your recruiting office, looking for a domestic driving job.
He’s presentable and articulate. He sounds smart, has an impressive employment history and seems like a hard worker. He was a commercial tire technician before pursuing a job behind the wheel, so he knows how to wield a wrench and can probably handle some minor repairs if necessary.
He has driven a service truck for years without incident and says all the right things when discussing safety and compliance.
This exchange would pretty much make your day, no? Oh, did I mention? He also suffers from insomnia and has a prescription for cannabis, which he consumes at night while off-duty – completely legal under Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
The driver described above is a real person dealing with this very real issue. He asked that we not divulge his name, for fear of it hindering his employability, so we’ll just call him…Bud.
Would you hire Bud to drive your trucks? Right up to the line about his medical use of marijuana, he’d be assured of at least a road test at most places. But when I posed this question on Twitter, it was met with a resounding “No!”
We’ve explored the issue of medical marijuana in the trucking industry before, but there remain more questions than answers. That could change in March. Patti Satok, the driver we wrote about last year who says she was offered a domestic driving job then had it rescinded when she tested positive for prescription pot on her pre-employment drug test, will have her day of mediation before the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The resulting judgment will be illuminating.
This is an issue that our industry has not yet faced and one that will not disappear, with a growing population of medical marijuana patients.
On one hand, should Bud be treated any differently than a driver who uses prescription painkillers to manage chronic conditions while off-duty? If it’s okay for some drivers to have a couple beers on the weekend, why can’t Bud have a toke to manage his insomnia and ensure he’s rested come Monday morning?
But then again, do you really want to be the nice guy, the progressive thinker, the compassionate employer who brings him on if your trust is abused and an accident occurs as a result of his impairment? Maybe impairment isn’t even a factor; how would a personal injury lawyer feel about a trucking company hiring someone who disclosed his or her use of medical marijuana? The plaintiff attorneys are licking their lips.
I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer here. Maybe truck driving just isn’t the career for Bud. Maybe he needs to find a more socially accepted treatment for his insomnia. Or maybe this is outdated thinking and maybe he deserves a chance. I don’t have the answer, but I’m interested in your opinions. You can visit my blog at Trucknews.com to read Bud’s complete story, in his own words. You can also post a comment and get involved in the dialogue. I’ll be reading and I know Bud will be too.