Illinois is set to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana
Posted On: Dec 30, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
You may have heard Illinois is set to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. According to Illinoispolicy.org, 'consumers aged 21 and older will be able to buy marijuana products from licensed sellers in Illinois – with or without a medical marijuana card.' This will start on January 1, 2020. However, having marijuana or THC in your system as an employee of an airline falls under the Department of Transportation's Zero Tolerance Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/medical-marijuana-notice. Safetyâ€�sensitive transportation employees are pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fireâ€�armed security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others. Fleet service clerks are also considered safetyâ€�sensitive employees who have to follow the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation. It needs to be noted that Federal law overrules state law. American Airlines' employees are covered under Federal law.
The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is THC, which is what they're looking for in a DOT drug test. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to find an excuse to not pay. Depending on the circumstances, if there is a cause to initiate a drug test there is a potential for a worker’s compensation case to be rejected. A key issue involving marijuana is not legalization but workplace safety. You’re just not at 100% when under the influence of something that has mild psychedelic properties. Cambridge Dictionary defines psychedelic as: 'causing unusually strong experiences of color, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and other mental effects such as feelings of deep understanding or hallucination (= imagining things that do not exist).' It sounds like a pretty bad idea to be high or have THC in your system at work with airplanes, numerous vehicles, and potentially dangerous equipment. Remember if you have used marijuana you might have THC in your system way past the time you were impaired and test positive.
CBD oil is a chemical compound present in marijuana but more abundant in hemp -- cannabis plants that have little THC. Lately, there's been lots of talk of the benefits of using CBD oil for pain, insomnia, anxiety, and other health problems. There hasn’t been a study yet on whether or not that's true. Due to the recent popularity of CBD oil products, they are largely unregulated and may contain other compounds due to processing. These products claim to be CBD only although it may contain trace amounts of THC. Will it show up on a drug test? Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't chance it. With prolonged use of CBD, the small traces of THC may add up.
So, with legalized marijuana arriving in Illinois that doesn’t mean to throw caution to the wind. Marijuana along with other mind or mood-altering substances will interfere with a safe and acceptable performance in the workplace. The best way to avoid all the complicated issues that come with testing positive for any drug usage is to come forward before anything happens. It doesn’t help to disclose your drug usage after an accident or before a drug test. For assistance please contact your EAP coordinators which are Louie Trevino 847-624-7805, Eddie Turner 630-202-7133, Drew Catania 847-372-9510 and LaTonya Herron 773-230-2133. You can also contact Emily Henry at American Airlines' outsourced EAP service Optum at 773-686-4179 or call the EAP number on the back of your BlueCross/BlueShield card which is 1-800-363-7190. We're all trying to make it through the day in one piece. With a healthy and safe work environment, it makes it possible to do so.