Fighting TLC Suspensions for Marijuana

in New York City

As a driver for hire in New York City you are required to take a yearly drug test.  This applies to yellow cabs, black cars, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, Via drivers, and any other type of taxi driver or driver for hire.  I have represented numerous clients who have failed a drug test due to high levels of THC and I have helped them avoid suspension of their TLC license.   The TLC allows you to have no more than 15 nanograms per millimeter of THC in your system.  These hearings are typically conducted at 100 Church Street in Manhattan or at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) Long Island City office in the Falchi Building location at 31-00 47th Ave.

 If you are found guilty after a hearing, you may have your TLC license revoked.  Once your TLC license is revoked, you may never be able to get it back.  Alternatively, you may be offered a settlement which involves surrendering your TLC license.  If you surrender your TLC license, it is far easier to get it back than if it is revoked.  You should speak with a qualified TLC lawyer to figure out what is in your best interest.

There are several defenses that are worth considering.  First, if you have a valid medical marijuana prescription, you may be able to get your case dismissed.  New York law permits the use of medical marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act.  In Taxi & Limousine Comm’n v W.R., OATH INDEX 2503/17 (July 14, 2017) a driver with a TLC license failed a drug test due to marijuana that he was taking as prescribed to him by his doctor.  The TLC ruled that because the driver’s ingestion of marijuana was entirely legal, that it would be a violation of New York City’s Human Rights Law and discriminatory to revoke his TLC license.    

Second, if you are able to establish that you have been regularly taking CBD oil at the time you failed the drug test, you may be able to show that your positive drug test was a result of the CBD oil products, not the ingestion of marijuana.  You are going to need to show concrete evidence that you were taking CBD oil.  This might include receipts dating from the time when you failed the drug test showing that you purchased CBD oil products.  You may also be able to get a witness such as a smoke shop employee to testify that they had first hand knowledge  of your regular purchase or use of CBD oil.  I have had some success with this argument based on an article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which researched various CBD oil products and concluded that many of them had sufficient THC in them to result in intoxication or impairment.

Third, if you failed a drug test by unknowingly ingesting marijuana, you may be able to argue that you inadvertently failed a drug test.  In order to prevail with this type of defense, you are going to have to document exactly how and when you unknowingly ingested the marijuana.  Perhaps you have a witness who can testify that they were responsible for providing you with edibles without your knowledge.

In short, there are defenses that can be used to avoid having to surrender your TLC license or getting it revoked.  Call a qualified TLC lawyer to help you figure out how to fight your case.