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So I plan on applying for an electrician job at Amtrak soon. I am aware of the drug testing methods used. I used to smoke weed up until 2 months ago and I don’t plan on using any drugs again in the future. With that being said, I know hair tests will show anything used within the last 3 months. But some people say it can test back as far as 6 months. Would I be safe to apply for the job in the 4-5 month period of being clean or should I wait longer than that? Again, I am drug free and I look forward to working for Amtrak, however I do not want to blow it on something silly like failing a drug test. Any advice is appreciated!
 

Acela150

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I'm going to be really blunt here. If you truly are "clean" then you would have never used anything. Rule G, which is the drug and alcohol rule, is strictly enforced with random tests. If you test positive for anything, you're done. Say goodbye to your job.

Now, with that being said. IF you stay true to your word of not using anything, wait until the 6 month mark that you haven't used anything. They DO take hair samples from you! I worked at the call center and they took hair from me. Which is legitimately a desk job. If you test positive for any drugs then the chances you get hired at Amtrak are zero and any other railroad are almost zero as well.

I wish you luck, but the RR is no place for any drug use. So I strongly urge you to stay away from anything that would make you fail a test.
 

daybeers

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I agree with AmtrakBlue that 6 months should be the minimum. You don't want to risk it and get burned by not being able to get hired by any railroad. However, I stand by my opinion from another topic here:
This might be a "hot take" (strong opinion) for this board, but IMO the federal substance requirements for cannabis are silly. I understand there is no surefire way to check if one is under the influence of something other than alcohol except a blood test, which are unreliable at best and can't detect for very long after ingestion, but what about someone who is an alcoholic? Federal agencies will most likely never find out. Someone who likes to have a bit of weed to calm down after a hard day's work is very similar to someone who likes a beer after work, but the former is illegal and the latter legal. Truly silly, but this is also not the topic to get into detail on all that.
AmtrakBlue, I can't believe Amtrak hair tested you, or even tested you in the first place, for a job in the call center. You didn't have any safety-related duties, correct?
 

SarahZ

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I can't believe Amtrak hair tested you, or even tested you in the first place, for a job in the call center. You didn't have any safety-related duties, correct?
I work in the office of a large production facility. Even though those of us in customer service, accounting, etc. don't work in the plant or shipping departments, we were still required to undergo a drug test and physical before we were hired.

I believe it's an insurance requirement. If you work for X company, which has to follow various federal and state requirements for safety, you have to undergo Y tests. They likely don't make exceptions based on the area of employment.

We also have to sit through OSHA training whenever there is an accident in the plant (which is rare, thankfully). I've been there for nearly five years and have only had to attend one training session.
 
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daybeers

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I believe it's an insurance requirement. If you work for X company, which has to follow various federal and state requirements for safety, you have to undergo Y tests. They likely don't make exceptions based on the area of employment.
That makes a lot of sense. Makes you wonder how much companies & organizations, namely in the transportation sector, spend on testing per year.
 

anumberone

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Testing for Marijuana seems strange since its legal in a lot of states. I know it's a Federal law. I dont know if it's true, people say that places that legitimately sell it, also have something that mask the use of it, otherwise, I don't know how people stay employed. I'm in a program with a company I do work for that require a random test for one of more employees every so often. I've had to take a urine test 3 times. They call and tell me to go now to a test lab. I don't know their employees, but, I'm beginning to think I'm being used.
 

Acela150

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I agree with AmtrakBlue that 6 months should be the minimum. You don't want to risk it and get burned by not being able to get hired by any railroad. However, I stand by my opinion from another topic here:

AmtrakBlue, I can't believe Amtrak hair tested you, or even tested you in the first place, for a job in the call center. You didn't have any safety-related duties, correct?
Who? :p

I actually laughed when the HR rep told me that. I had known her for some time so she understood why I laughed. But yes, no safety duties at the call center.
 

daybeers

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Who? :p

I actually laughed when the HR rep told me that. I had known her for some time so she understood why I laughed. But yes, no safety duties at the call center.
:eek: Wow, I can't believe I got that wrong! I wrote that at the end of a long day. Sorry bout that!
 

AmtrakBlue

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Since my name was brought up, I’ll chime in. Every job I’ve been hired for, whether temp or perm, for the last ?10?plus years, I’ve had to do a drug test. Most of these jobs were at financial institutes. So, safety was not the reason. I believe it’s common, at least in large corporations, for new employees to be tested regardless of the work they do
 

dlagrua

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Drug testing has become commonplace in the work world. While they can have a calming effect, many drugs dull your senses. Employers want to hire those that are alert and efficient at their responsibility.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The problem with merging precise chemical testing and zero tolerance employment rules is that something as innocuous as visiting a rock, rap, or hip-hop concert while off duty can get you fired and potentially ruin your career. Even if you never rolled, lit, smoked, or ate anything you're still going to test positive on the lab screen.
 

crescent-zephyr

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The problem with merging precise chemical testing and zero tolerance employment rules is that something as innocuous as visiting a rock, rap, or hip-hop concert while off duty can get you fired and potentially ruin your career. Even if you never rolled, lit, smoked, or ate anything you're still going to test positive on the lab screen.
Or walking down the streets of New York City. I smelled it quite a bit on my last visit.
 

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Considering the wider acceptance of both medical and recreational usage, that will be an increasing problem. Even many (not all) of the people who struggle with the concept of wider acceptance of recreational use accept some medical uses...
 

I like rolling hotels

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Another thing to think about is that depending on exactly how the lab does the test they may report a positive for THC when all you have used is (now legal nationally) CBD oil.
 

keelhauled

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Last winter I lived in an apartment with several people who smoked copious amounts of marijuana. I certainly breathed plenty of secondhand smoke, and passed the one urine drug test I was administered by my employer.
 

SarahZ

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Drug testing has become commonplace in the work world. While they can have a calming effect, many drugs dull your senses. Employers want to hire those that are alert and efficient at their responsibility.
The problem with this "logic" is that the effects of marijuana dissipate after only a few hours but can remain in your system for a few weeks.

This would be like punishing someone for drinking a Jack & Coke on their day off. I don't see why it's socially acceptable to go to the bar and get drunk every payday, but someone takes two hits of the devil's lettuce, and everyone clutches their pearls.
 

neroden

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Yeah. Companies are going to have to end cannabis testing, it's just a pity it's moving so slowly.

The federal government is going to be forced into full legalization pretty soon. I'm not sure how long it's going to take, but when an outright majority of *Republicans* surveyed supports legalization, the government position is untenable and will not last.
 

iliketrains

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The problem with this "logic" is that the effects of marijuana dissipate after only a few hours but can remain in your system for a few weeks.

This would be like punishing someone for drinking a Jack & Coke on their day off. I don't see why it's socially acceptable to go to the bar and get drunk every payday, but someone takes two hits of the devil's lettuce, and everyone clutches their pearls.
ROFLMAO!
 

ehbowen

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At one point in my life (Jimmy Carter was still in the White House) I was railfanning the old Galveston Lift Bridge when the bridge operator offered me a toke of his "stuff"...I declined his hospitality. Shortly (a few days) thereafter, a barge loaded with acrylonitrile hit the bridge on a foggy night and exploded, damaging the lift span severely (it would be replaced a few years later). Now this operator was not on duty during that accident, but I think that it speaks to an overall prevailing lackadaisical attitude. The tug captain was navigating by radar and the operator had told him that the bridge would be open, and it would have been...had she not chosen that moment to take a quick bathroom break.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Is there no practical method to measure active cannabis intoxication? Most of the debate seems to be focused on self-harm relative to other recreational drugs, but if you're driving/working high you may as well be driving/working drunk. I'm not threatened by cannabis usage but I also don't think it should be tolerated in risky situations.
 

SarahZ

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Is there no practical method to measure active cannabis intoxication? Most of the debate seems to be focused on self-harm relative to other recreational drugs, but if you're driving/working high you may as well be driving/working drunk. I'm not threatened by cannabis usage but I also don't think it should be tolerated in risky situations.
Agreed. It's too bad there isn't a way to measure it similar to the way you measure Blood Alcohol Content.
 

RSG

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Is there no practical method to measure active cannabis intoxication?
Not really, no. At least not yet. The states which have legalized marijuana (and let's be clear, all but one have done so via voter initiative, so there hasn't been a lot of advanced planning or forethought on the issue) have struggled to determine what defines intoxication, and more importantly, impairment.

This is particularly true when it comes to physiological tests, since many don't deliver consistent results. In addition, there is no set standard for what chemically determines impairment, as it can vary from person to person. Even regular consumers of alcohol will challenge impairment based on blood alcohol level, but the test and the standard has become so ingrained and intertwined with stigma that few dare speak aloud of any differences between individuals and their personal capabilities.

So states like Colorado are attempting to approach the issue from a different angle and do cognitive-based testing for those suspected of both cannabis and alcohol use. In addition to looking for the usual characteristics such as dilated pupils, there are other tests that law enforcement is using to determine whether a particular individual should not be operating a motor vehicle---or be left in control of their own person.

On a side note, the incidence of impaired driving and related accidents have increased since recreational marijuana was made legal in Colorado. Insurance rates, as a result, have also increased.
 

Alice

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This goes back a long time (60s). There was a study (don't recall how rigorous it was). The idea was that why a truck driver or airline pilot was impaired didn't matter, what mattered was that they shouldn't be on the job just then. It required base testing of reflexes, attention, and such using something similar to a video game. Then it would be given again at intervals and results compared. People "flunked" it by being drunk, but also ill, or on "do not drive or operate heavy machinery" medication, or having a fight with their spouse that morning. It wasn't pursued more at the time because of the expense. Remember this predated Pong, it would be more practical today.

I agree with the concept that a measure of impairment is a better goal than relying on presence or absence of a laundry list of chemicals.
 

Barb Stout

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This goes back a long time (60s). There was a study (don't recall how rigorous it was). The idea was that why a truck driver or airline pilot was impaired didn't matter, what mattered was that they shouldn't be on the job just then. It required base testing of reflexes, attention, and such using something similar to a video game. Then it would be given again at intervals and results compared. People "flunked" it by being drunk, but also ill, or on "do not drive or operate heavy machinery" medication, or having a fight with their spouse that morning. It wasn't pursued more at the time because of the expense. Remember this predated Pong, it would be more practical today.

I agree with the concept that a measure of impairment is a better goal than relying on presence or absence of a laundry list of chemicals.
When you say Pong, do you mean that computer game that "simulates" ping pong or something else?

There are many reasons why people work/drive impaired, like you say. Most people are running around fatigued anyway due to many different reasons. However, as someone who lives in a wait and watch state in terms of recreational marijuana, the fact that the incidence of impaired driving and related accidents have increased (and therefore, insurance rates) since recreational marijuana was made legal in Colorado does give me pause.
 
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