Michael Berkman
Michael Berkman

Push for medical cannabis be exempt from drug driving laws

THE Greens want Queenslanders approved for medical cannabis to be able to get behind the wheel and be exempt to the state's strict drug driving laws.

Greens MP Michael Berkman told The Sunday Mail medicinal cannabis should be treated the same as alcohol and other prescription drugs.

He said driving with low levels of THC, which does not cause impairment, while taking medicinal cannabis should not be illegal.

"Punishing patients using medicinal cannabis by taking away their licence for trace amounts of THC which do not impair driving is cruel and just makes their lives harder," Mr Berkman said.

"Someone undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from chronic pain shouldn't lose their means of transport just because they used their prescribed medication a week ago."

The government has ruled out backing the Greens' push and says it is not currently considering any changes.

Mr Berkman said the Greens also supported legalising cannabis "in line with advice" from the Queensland Productivity Commission - which has previously recommended the legalisation and regulated use of cannabis.

"And when that finally happens, driving while impaired would remain illegal," the Maiwar MP said.

"In the meantime, users of medicinal cannabis should not be treated like criminals for driving with very low levels of THC in their system."

Mr Berkman said patients using medicinal cannabis should be allowed to show police their prescription if they test positive to low levels of THC while driving.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Tara Croser
Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Tara Croser

In response to a question on notice about the issue, Transport Minister Mark Bailey said some medicinal cannabis products did contain THC, which would be detected under Queensland's drug driving laws.

"However, some medicinal cannabis products do not contain THC," he said.

"Patients taking cannabidiol-only (CBD) medicinal cannabis can lawfully drive, as long as they are not impaired.

"It is an offence in Queensland for a person to drive with any amount of THC in their system, whether it was prescribed or taken illegally."

Mr Bailey said the state government would continue to take a "zero-tolerance approach" to drug driving.

Originally published as Should medical cannabis users be exempt from drug driving laws?


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