Australians May Be Allowed to Drive with THC in Their System
There are currently over 25,000 medical cannabis users in Australia. Medical cannabis products are prescribed for relieving different chronic health issues, chemotherapy-inflicted nausea, or used in palliative care.
However, driving when using cannabis products with THC is considered an offense in Australia. The driver can be penalized the same way they would be if they used illegal drugs, in case a roadside test detects these substances.
There’s a parliamentary bill focusing on making the treatment of medical cannabis users the same as the treatment of other prescription-drug users. Typically, using prescribed medication doesn’t forbid one from driving. Viewed from that angle, it does seem logical that medical cannabis users should be allowed to drive under these products’ influence.
But, driving a car is a complex task, so how safe is it to drive under the influence of medical cannabis?
The answer isn’t simple since it depends on several factors. The degree to which medical cannabis products impair one’s ability to drive safely depends on how much cannabis one has consumed, how long before operating a vehicle, the THC levels contained within given products, and so on.
Furthermore, medicinal cannabis isn’t the same as illegal cannabis, as it contains much less THC and more CBD. A significant part of Australian medicinal cannabis products contain only cannabidiol, like CBD capsules.
The proposed bill is doubtlessly getting a lot of support. However, before any legislative changes are officially introduced, there needs to be more research on how long these treatments influence the drivers.
Supporting medical cannabis patients is extremely important, but ensuring the safety of everyone in traffic cannot be disregarded. Using mandatory driving hazard warning labels is just a part of the solution. Whatever the proposition outcome, any decision on this topic should include opinions of researchers, patients, road-safety groups, as well as law enforcement.