Victoria’s drug-driving laws are set to be overhauled for medicinal cannabis users, with both major parties backing a push by Legalise Cannabis over the rules.
The bill seeks to change the state’s road safety laws to treat medicinal cannabis like other prescription medications for drivers. It’s an offence for a person to drive with any trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, in their system, even if they have a prescription from their doctor. This is despite the fact THC can be present in a driver’s system for long periods of time, even after the initial effects have worn off.
Motorists taking other prescribed drugs including antidepressants, opiates and antihistamines may be impaired, but these drugs are not tested for driving by police. Debates on the Road Safety Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) bill have called for a change to this ‘unfair’ and ‘inconsistent’ system for 65,000 Victorians currently prescribed medicinal cannabis.
It’s an issue the government has been grappling with for several years, prompting the establishment of the medicinal cannabis and safe driving working group, which commissioned three universities to conduct additional research in 2021.
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