CIC calls for overhaul of ‘discriminatory’ cannabis driving laws
The current rules for prescription cannabis patients who drive are potentially ‘discriminatory’, according to a new report from the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC).
The report, entitled ‘Cannabis & Driving’, found that current driving legislation has not kept up-to-date with the legalisation of medical cannabis in 2018.
Cannabis is on the ‘zero tolerance’ list within the Road Traffic Act 1988, meaning there is a legal limit of two micrograms per litre of blood. The report notes blood and saliva tests are ‘inconsistent markers for a driver’s impairment’, as cannabis remains in the body for up to 30 days.
Report author Frances Crewdson of Ananda Developments commented:
“It is highly concerning that vulnerable patients are being put at risk of losing their licence or even criminalisation due to outdated and contradictory legislation.
“The Cannabis Industry Council is calling on the Government to urgently review the anomalies within the Road Traffic Act to uphold the basic rights of medical cannabis patients.”
The report details six key recommendations to be pursued, as follows:
- Standardise medical cannabis and driving guidelines (Road Traffic Act 1988) to focus on impairment rather than the “illegal drugs, accidental exposure, zero tolerance” threshold limit.
- Continue to use the Field Impairment Test (FIT) as the method of identifying impairment, as THC concentration in blood and saliva are inconsistent markers.
- Standardise the driving warnings around impairment on medical cannabis product labelling.
- Review the consistency and effectiveness of communication to medical cannabis patients around their statutory rights, and put plans put in place to improve it.
- Review the consistency and effectiveness of law enforcement training around the legalisation of medical cannabis and patients’ statutory rights and put plans in place to improve it.
- Review the consistency and effectiveness of safe driving communication to CBPM prescribers and put plans in place to improve it.
Chair of the CIC Standards Working Group Elisabetta Faenza added:
“The current situation for medical cannabis patients who need to drive is a complete minefield. The Cannabis Industry Council will be working with industry partners to develop guidance and support for patients and prescribers.”
The report was developed by the CIC’s Standards Working Group, with notable contributions from Frances Crewdson, Guy Coxall (Seed our Future), Kirsty Morrison (Cancard), and Dr Callie Seaman (Aqualabs).
The report can be accessed here.