The West Australian government has accepted 11 of 16 recommendations from the state’s Select Committee into Cannabis and Hemp but is still dragging its feet over drug-driving reform.
While it agreed to set up a working group to consider ‘reasonable amendments’ to the road traffic act, it cautioned against ‘knee-jerk changes’ to driving laws.
A government spokeswoman said: “We want to be very clear that this government would never support any amendment which would allow a person to drive while impaired.”
However, she did acknowledge that “other Australian jurisdictions are progressing amendments to enable a defence for people using medicinal cannabis, as prescribed, to drive while unimpaired and Tasmania already has these provisions in place”.
Legalise Cannabis MP and select committee chair Dr Brian Walker gave a cautious welcome to the government’s response.
He said: “The politically correct response is that I’m happy that they are taking this seriously. As a medical practitioner, as well as a politician, I’m sad they are not taking more immediate action.”
Among the committee’s recommendations that the government did promise action on were updating workplace drug-testing guidance for employers, removing the need for doctors to be specially authorised to prescribe schedule eight medicinal cannabis, and allowing prescriptions issued interstate to be honoured in WA.
It also agreed to review daily THC prescribing limits and investigate the feasibility of a medicinal cannabis advisory service.
The official response was tabled in parliament yesterday (Tuesday). Dr Walker said he was pleased the government was broadly supportive of the committee’s recommendations.