HomeNewsPressure Mounts In Australia For Medical Cannabis Driving Reform

Pressure Mounts In Australia For Medical Cannabis Driving Reform

It’s been a big week for campaigning on reform to driving laws in Australia concerning medical cannabis patients.

As the situation currently stands, patients using legally prescribed cannabis products containing THC can lose their driver’s license for testing positive to its presence in most Australian states and territories, regardless of the absence of any sort of THC related impairment.

Early this week, we reported  that in South Australia, Sarah Game MLC was introducing the Statutes Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis Defence) Bill 2023 to the Legislative Council this week, which seeks to allow for a defence for medicinal cannabis users who have a prescription and are driving responsibly and safely.

Then yesterday, we mentioned a crowdfunding campaign had been launched to support efforts in achieving fair and equal drug-driving laws for patients using medicinal cannabis across Australia.

Added to this, the Legalise Cannabis Party has introduced a Bill to Victoria’s parliament to change the Road Safety Act and allow authorised users of medicinal cannabis to drive. While medical cannabis has been legal in the state since 2016, it remains an offence in Victoria for a person to drive with any amount of THC in their system.

A state government report released in 2021 considered how a medicinal cannabis patient’s fitness to drive can be assessed – but things haven’t really progressed since. It’s hoped the wheels of change may start to spin a little faster now with the introduction of the Road Safety Amendment (Medical Cannabis) Bill .

“This morning, Rachel Payne MP and I were proud to stand with medicinal cannabis patients and doctors to call on the Victorian Government to allow medicinal cannabis to patients drive when safe to do so,” said David Ettershank MP. “The time for this change is now.”

“This Bill is premised on a very simple principle: people who have been prescribed a medicine by a registered medical practitioner, and can drive safely, should be allowed to drive,” said Mr. Ettershank. “This is how we treat every single prescription medicine in Victoria, except one – medicinal cannabis. The evidence is apparent and it is time for reform.”

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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