Hope is on the horizon for medicinal cannabis users facing unjust laws as the Victorian government has announced it is launching a study to learn of its effects on driving.
But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean people will be smoking up and getting behind the wheel. Rather, think of it as a study on the *lingering* effects of cannabis.
Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV, Australian Drugs Foundation (ADF) spokesperson Robert Taylor cleared up any confusion.
“The ADF would never support impaired driving, rather this is trying to clarify that you can have traces of cannabis in your system and still be unimpaired,” he said.
“People are prescribed other things such as benzodiazepines and opiates and can be driving impaired because there’s no roadside test for that.
“So we have this inequity in the law, and that’s what this study is trying to address”.
Think of it this way – someone might consume medicinal cannabis and then drive the next day. We all know they’re unimpaired, but the roadside test says otherwise and they could risk prosecution. This study is a way forward for the Victorian government to make changes that fit within the framework of the law.
“The Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 will enable government to run a closed-circuit trial to investigate if there are conditions under which individuals who are prescribed medicinal cannabis, which contains delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can drive safely,” the Victoria Government said in a press release yesterday.
They said that “significant gaps remain in understanding THC’s potential impairment on driving performance in different driver cohorts”.
Calls for changes to the law have been a long time coming, and although Taylor and others have concerns around the length of time this study could take, I think it’s fair to say we’re finally moving in the right direction. There could even be wider implications—further down the track the results could be applied to the prosecution of recreational users caught behind the wheel too.