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No marijuana for SF taxi drivers under new rule

By Oscar Pascual |

San Francisco’s cab drivers may soon have to choose between quitting cannabis or quitting their jobs.

The board of directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which controls both the city’s taxi transportation and the operation of Muni, will vote in October on a new drug testing policy for taxi drivers. the San Francisco Examiner.

Under the new rule, both taxi drivers and Muni bus drivers would be required to undergo drug screening prior to employment. Anyone who tests positive for any of the 40 substances on a list drawn up by the federal government will be banned from driving.

Unfortunately, the draft proposal does not include an exception for law-abiding medical marijuana patients, lawyers have noted.

“It stupidly discriminates against both medical and casual off-the-job users,” Dale Gieringer, director of the California NORML chapter, told the examiner. “When the SFMTA considers drug testers without an exemption for medical users, he said, ‘We are going to protest that. There will be a turnout.”

When asked why there was no exception to the rule, the SFMTA had a simple answer.

“The SFMTA has no way of knowing which operator has a medical marijuana card,” agency spokesman Robert Lyles said. the examiner.

The draft proposal calls for annual drug testing when drivers renew their license, as well as mandatory drug and alcohol testing when involved in a traffic accident.

The SFMTA’s Taxi and Accessible Services division has already met with the Energetix Corporation, which oversees several drug testing services in New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Many were concerned about the strict proposal that the new rules could lose hundreds of drivers to alternative car services.

“This can cause drivers to go to Uber or Lyft,” Carl Macmurdo, president of the Medallion Holders Association, told me. the examiner.

Despite the controversy arising from the proposal, SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan told: the examiner that he was unaware of the proposal and the anti-cannabis language. Nolan is particularly concerned about the inaccurate nature of marijuana testing, which can be found in the human system for up to a month after consumption.

“Obviously, if someone is really high, you shouldn’t drive,” Nolan told the examiner. “But whether you did anything on the weekend, smoked some dope, I don’t know.”

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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