It’s estimated that somewhere between 300,000 – 500,000 Australians are prescribed medicinal cannabis for a range of medical conditions. Currently, Victoria is leading the country in the number of new prescriptions, with 5,168 Victorians obtaining a script in the last six months.

However, like almost every state in Australia (except Tasmania), Victorian drivers who test positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a random Roadside Drug Test (RDT) face harsh penalties, even if the cannabis consumed has been legally prescribed by a doctor and the driver is not impaired.

Patients caught with even a minute trace of THC in their system can have their license suspended for 6- 12 months. There is literally no defense. Medicinal cannabis is the only legal prescription medication which is treated like this.

We’ve heard countless stories from patients whose lives have been changed for the better by medicinal cannabis. It enables them to manage their pain, or get a good night’s sleep so they can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. It helps them live a normal life.

But Australia’s RDT regime is preventing them from doing so without fear of life-altering consequences. It gives them a choice between being well or being able to drive; between taking a medication which works for them or going back to strong, addictive, opioid-based medications.

These choices are patently unfair and are leading to worse health outcomes for people with complex medical conditions.

The Victorian Government has committed to an 18 month trial which will test the effects of medicinal cannabis on driving. In response to this overly protracted time-frame, this e-petition calls on the government to allow a medical defense for drivers taking their medication as prescribed.

If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures before the 19th of July, 2024, tabling the petition will trigger a debate in the Legislative Council on the issue. PLEASE SIGN the e-petition to support vulnerable patients.

TARGET: 10,000

Progress:0%

FAQs

Q: What is the e-petition proposing?

A: It proposes to treat medicinal cannabis like all other prescription medications which can cause impairment. It requests that the Legislative Council call on the Government to amend the Road Safety Act 1986 to make it no longer an offence for a driver who is unimpaired to have detectable THC in their blood or oral fluid, provided they have taken their medication as prescribed.

Q: What does the evidence say about the effects of medicinal cannabis on driving?

Research shows CBD is completely safe for driving, and the effects of products containing THC fade in hours. Source: Effect of Cannabidiol and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Driving Performance: Arkell, Vinckenbosch, Kevin et al

Q: If the law is changed, does that mean that people would be able to drive while stoned?

No, a medical exemption would not exempt people who are driving while impaired.