Legalise Cannabis Victoria (LCV) has introduced a motion to establish a parliamentary inquiry into workplace drug testing in a bid to achieve fairness for medicinal cannabis patients.
The party said while the medicine has been legal in the state since 2016, patients are still being treated as criminals when subject to “unfair and discriminatory” workplace drug testing.
“It does not happen with other prescription medications,” LCV said. “Workplace drug testing practices need to change so that this lawful prescription medication is not a bar to gainful employment.
“When a medicinal cannabis patient is not impaired by their medication… [it] should not be a barrier to work.”
Industries such as mining and transport have legislative requirements to test for illicit drugs, while other sectors require testing as part of occupational health and safety programs, or as a result of enterprise agreements.
But the party insisted a positive test for medicinal cannabis is not a positive test to an illicit drug “and that distinction has to be made in the workplace”.
LCV MP David Ettershank said: “Workplace drug testing is important, but its practices and procedures unfairly discriminate against medicinal cannabis patients. If you’re taking any other prescription medicine at work, you won’t face this prejudice.
“This unfair practice is costing people their jobs and their livelihoods, just for taking the medication prescribed by their doctor.”
LCV MP Rachel Payne added: “Trace amounts of THC can be detected for up to 30 days after consumption. It is not fair to treat medicinal cannabis patients who trigger a positive test as if they have taken an illicit substance.
“This is medicine. For many, it is the very medicine which has allowed them to get back to work in the face of serious health issues.”