Police opposition has dented immediate hopes in Victoria that medicinal cannabis patients could soon be free from prosecution if they test positive to random roadside drug tests.
But despite the setback, campaigners remain confident that driving law reform will still get across the line in the next few months.
Hopes of reform soared last October after Reason Party MP Fiona Patten tabled a bill calling for legal medicinal cannabis to be treated as other prescription medications.
It led to Victoria’s Labor Government establishing a taskforce to explore the issue and pledging to work with Patten “while noting that road safety would form a key part of the discussion”.
Under current Australia-wide laws, drivers with any amount of THC in their system – however small – can be prosecuted even if there is no evidence to suggest driving is impaired.
Other prescription medicines, including opiates, are not subject to the same stringent rules, prompting accusations that regulations discriminate against medicinal cannabis users.
Any new legislation is expected to ensure that patients holding medicinal cannabis prescriptions will be free from arrest and prosecution if trace amounts of THC are detected – assuming they are not impaired.
But Cannabiz understands police representatives who contributed to the taskforce, including assistant commissioner for road policing command Libby Murphy, were dismissive of reform and reluctant to take on board differing views.