The Liberal-National and Labor parties voted down the NSW Greens’ bill to amend the state’s drug-driving laws last night.
The Road Transport Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis – Exemptions from Offences) Bill 2021 was introduced by Greens MP and drug law reform and harm reduction spokesperson Cate Faehrmann in November last year.
It would have provided medicinal cannabis patients with a defence against drug-driving charges if they were not impaired and had taken their medicine as prescribed at the time of the offence.
However, it was defeated by 29 votes to six.
Speaking after the vote, Faehrmann said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the Government and Labor have joined forces to allow these unjustifiable laws to continue to unfairly punish medicinal cannabis patients in NSW.
“Roadside drug tests can detect miniscule traces of THC in the system of a person who has consumed cannabis long after any effects have worn off. Our road laws should have been reformed to reflect this when medical cannabis was legalised five years ago.
“Until our road laws are changed, medicinal cannabis users will continue to face discrimination.
“It was very disappointing that government speakers to the bill conflated illicit cannabis with legal medicinal cannabis use. They seemed to have very little understanding of the plight of tens of thousands of medicinal cannabis patients in NSW.
“Increasingly, people are turning to cannabis because it is the only medicine that brings them relief from conditions like PTSD or chronic pain. These patients will now continue to be forced to choose between driving or using the one medicine that works for them.
“Other jurisdictions have successfully allowed cannabis patients to drive and so should NSW.
“Make no mistake. The Greens will be bringing this bill back as a priority in the next term of parliament until this sensible reform gets done,” she added.