18 May 2023, 15:48
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

My adjournment is directed to the Minister for Police, the Honourable Anthony Carbines in the other place, and relates to Victoria Police’s workplace testing for alcohol and other drugs. Bill, as we shall call him, is a young detective with Victoria Police. He has been prescribed a full-spectrum CBD which has a very low THC content. In other words, there is very little in the way of psychoactive elements to it. Off his own bat, Bill had a full chemical analysis of the product done and supplied this to his manager. The analysis found the THC component to be less than half a percent – a negligible amount and less than the amount recommended for over-the-counter sales in Victoria. However, this tiny amount of THC was detected in a routine drug test, and that led to Bill being suspended.

The police medical officer even recommended that Bill be stood down, even though the medical officer stated that he knew nothing about medicinal cannabis. It is highly unlikely that Bill would have been recommended for suspension if he had been prescribed benzodiazepines or opioids, so I ask the minister: what is the policy for officers who take those impairing medications?

Written Answer
Received: 7th July 2023
Hon. Anthony Carbines MP
(Minister for Police, Minister for Crime Prevention, Minister for Racing)

The Victoria Police Policy aims to address the duty of care it has to its employees and the community it serves by ensuring that employees do not put themselves or others at risk due to a range of impairments, including impairment from prescribed medication.

The current approach considers the occupational health and safety requirements on employees and employers. Employees who are taking medicinal cannabis are not permitted to undertake a number of duties such as driving a police vehicle and/or carry operational safety equipment. For these employees, management intervention options, such as alternate duties, are considered depending on the employee’s individual circumstances, and are made in consultation with the employee.

The policy is consistent with other practices in other police jurisdictions and in is subject to ongoing review in consultation with interested parties.

Employees who return a positive drug test have up to 12 months to dispute the result.


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