SFMTA board to vote on drug testing taxi drivers

Photo by Mike Koozmin, SF Examiner.

Photo by Mike Koozmin, SF Examiner.

San Francisco taxi drivers may soon be subject to drug and alcohol testing.

A proposal to require such tests will go before the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Tuesday, at their 1 p.m. meeting.

The drug tests would be required when taxi drivers renew their cab permits with The City, apply for a new permit, after having an accident and if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use, according to the resolution.

The purpose of the resolution is to bring San Francisco’s taxi industry in line with a California government code requiring testing of taxi drivers, which was enacted in 1996, according to state records.

Medical marijuana-smoking cabbies are not exempted from drug testing, according to the SFMTA. So those medicating may need to give up the “good green.”

Some in the taxi industry have protested, saying San Franciscans are allowed, under local law, to purchase medical cannabis (marijuana).

Carl Macmurdo, president of the Medallion Holders Association, said he’s worried the local industry would then lose “hundreds” of drivers.

“This may cause drivers to go to Uber or Lyft,” he told us when the drug testing was first announced, in August.

But state law does not yet fully recognize marijuana as legal. In the resolution on drug testing going before the board, the SFMTA addresses this legal limbo.

“Many in the (taxi) industry believe that a positive test for marijuana should be excused if the driver is able to present a prescription for medicinal marijuana,” SFMTA wrote. “However, state law requires that testing comply with federal testing regulations. The federal regulations (49 CFR §40.137(e)(2)) do not recognize marijuana as having a legitimate medical explanation for a positive drug test.”

“For this to change,” SFMTA wrote, “state law would have to be amended.”

If approved, the SFMTA would create seven drug testing sites in San Francisco, with one of them available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A taxicab driver applicant that tests positive for the required controlled substances will be automatically denied a taxicab permit, according to the resolution.

The SFMTA would pay for drug testing when drivers apply for permits, but taxi companies would pay for drug testing if a driver is in an accident.
cannabisdrug testingMarijuanaSFMTAtaxisTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

(Robert Greene/Tribune News Service)
As tensions grow over vaccinations and politics, California lawmakers face threats from public

Anti-vaccine speakers hint at gun violence during routine budget hearing at state Capitol

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

Music producer Phil Spector looks up during his murder trial in Superior Court July 10, 2007 in Los Angeles. (Gabriel Bouys-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)
Phil Spector, visionary music producer convicted in notorious murder, dies at 81

Phil Spector, the visionary record producer who revolutionized pop music in the… Continue reading

Most Read