New South Wales Greens MP Cate Faehrmann has introduced a new bill into the state’s Upper House that would allow people taking medical cannabis to drive with their medication in their system.
Medical cannabis users in NSW cannot drive under with THC in their bodies, even though research shows that driving after consuming THC in medical cannabis puts someone at a “similar or lower” risk than driving after consuming other prescription medications. 71.9% of Australia’s medical cannabis users say their medication doesn’t impact their driving at all, and according to Dive Change, 70% of medical cannabis users take THC.
Faehrmann introduced the reform bill, “The Road Transport Amendment Bill (Medicinal Cannabis – Exemptions from Offences),” to the Legislative Council on Wednesday (November 17th).
The bill would amend NSW’s Road Transport Act 2013 so that the offense of driving under the influence of THC would not apply to people who are caught with THC from a “prescribed illicit drug” that they “obtained and administered for medicinal purposes.”
In Faermann’s introductory speech to parliament, she pointed out that people who lose their license because they drove after consuming medical cannabis face loss of income, housing instability, financial distress, and occasionally the breakdown of relationships. Granting medical cannabis users exemption from the unfair laws persecuting them will “end the injustice,” she says.
This bill seeks to end the injustice that has been perpetrated by this Government against patients who legally and legitimately access medicinal cannabis.
Faehrmann’s equal driving law bill will likely be debated in 2022. If you are interested in seeing the bill yourself, you can find it here. Or, if you don’t live in NSW and would still like to help reform Australia’s driving laws, consider getting involved with Drive Change.