Podcast

AltMed Podcast EP.05 – Cannabis Driving Laws

In this week’s podcast, Mitch and Andrew discuss the implications of a recent drug driving legislation, and how the new cannabis driving laws will play out in Victoria. 

On the 14th of October 2020, the Victorian parliament passed the legislation to allow medicinal cannabis users to drive with the medication in their system which could be allowed as early as 2021. Currently drivers are not allowed any THC in their system while driving in any State in Australia.

It is an offence for a person to drive with any amount of THC in their system, including any amount of THC from medicinal CBD. Penalties for drug-driving include a mandatory driver licence suspension and monetary fines. Roadside drug testing requires the driver to provide a small sample of saliva for testing. A saliva sample that is positive for THC at the roadside will be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. A confirmed positive test will result in a drug-driving charge.

Victoria will be the first state in Australia to implement these new cannabis driving laws. Mitch and Andrew see this as a hopeful sign that similar legislation could be rolled out across the country in future.

Current roadside drug tests only pick up the presence of cannabis in a driver’s system, without accounting for whether the driver is impaired. These new drug driving laws will take into account a patient’s valid prescription for medicinal cannabis, and will apply a limit on THC levels – much like a blood alcohol concentration limit would.  

New laws will require the safety of the driver and other road users as a key priority when deciding to allow exemptions to drug-driving laws, and that changes must balance road safety with medicinal cannabis patients’ need for mobility.

This new legislation will provide those being treated with medicinal cannabis the added freedoms of travel, while also safeguarding Victorian roads.

 

External links:

https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/crops-and-horticulture/cannabis-in-victoria/medicinal-cannabis#h2-0

https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/driver-safety/drugs-and-alcohol/medicinal-cannabis-and-driving

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