SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Jeanette Hales was shocked when the results of a recent random drug test came back positive.
She had been working as a district school bus driver for eleven years and had never used recreational marijuana.
Rather, she had started using CBD oil in order to help manage her stress.
Hales says she was careful to do her homework first and eventually landed on a product called “Charlotte’s web.”
CBD oil is legal in Utah, but can contain up to 0.3% THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana that creates a “high” sensation.
Nonetheless, CBD oil remains unregulated and it’s possible for a product to contain THC above the 0.3% mark.
When Hales failed her test she first blamed the product, but has since opened the door to the possibility that her body simply processes the drug different than others.
“I think that the real serious factor that no one can control is how the individual body processes,” she explains.
A transportation specialist with the Utah State Board of Education responded to an e-mail clarifying that they “follow federal DOT drug testing regulations.”
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, someone fails by either testing positive to a drug test or registering an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater.
The trace amounts of THC in Hales’ system turned out to be enough to fail the test.
“A failed marijuana test is a failed test,” she explains. “As a result I lost my employment.”
Hales says following the failed test she was first placed on administrative leave and then fired from her position.
“It’s hard to believe that it would actually happen,” she explains.
She adds that in eleven years of employment she was randomly drug tested five or six times in total.
According to Hales, the root of the issue is misinformation.
She says district employees attend a drug/alcohol seminar every year, but there was never any mention of CBD oil and the possible repercussions.
“It can make you fail a test when other people say they’re not,” says Hales. “When companies tell you it’s safe and all within regulation.”
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