South Australia has passed a bill giving police the power to issue immediate licence suspensions for drug driving in a move that will dismay cannabis campaigners.

The legislation passed on Tuesday and means SA police will be able to suspend a driver’s licence for three months immediately if they return a positive roadside drug test.

Previously, drivers who tested positive at the roadside could continue driving for 28 days while their oral fluid was forensically analysed. 

Greg Barns

When first proposed, the Australian Lawyers Association (ALA) slammed the bill as unfair to drivers with a legal cannabis prescription and no evidence of impaired driving.

At the time, ALA spokesperson Greg Barns dubbed the proposals “probably the worst we have seen in the road safety space anywhere in Australia in recent years”, with no scientific basis.

He added: “Drivers who take opioids or other prescription medication do not find themselves in court or risk losing their licence, and neither should drivers who have taken a prescribed and legal dose of cannabis.”

However, police minister Vincent Tarzia remained unapologetic about the bill passing.

“Drug drivers have no place on our roads and this bill has shut down a dangerous loophole that afforded some irresponsible motorists the opportunity to continue driving despite a positive drug test,” he said.

“We make no apologies for this crackdown on selfish drivers who put innocent lives at risk.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...