Nicole’s random drug test was positive. She hadn’t taken any drugs

“Doctors I know say that 30 to 40 percent of people will never take their prescription because they can’t drive,” he said. “Demand [for medical cannabis] is there for a reason. But it’s totally useless if you can’t drive. That has nothing to do with road safety, but everything with a ban.”

His position is supported by the NSW Bar Association, NSW Young Lawyers and the Law Society of NSW, who, in a recent bill tabled at a House of Lords hearing on driving rules, stated that cannabis users should have a similar medical defense as users of morphine against pain .


Former NSW chief prosecutor Nicholas Cowdery also supported a move. “I think the entire drug driving act is misunderstood,” he told the inquest. “What we should focus our legislative attention on … is impairment of driving. These laws largely miss that.”

A recent study conducted by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at Sydney University found that THC-induced impairment lasted anywhere from three to 10 hours, depending on how much and how it was consumed. There was no interference from any other compound, CBD or cannabidiol.

A meta-analysis found that the risk of accidents related to THC, the intoxicating compound, is similar to that of drivers with a low blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.05, which is the legal limit for fully licensed drivers.

After Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, some studies showed that it led to more fatal car accidents, while others found no increase in road traffic injuries. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact role of cannabis because when it is discovered after a serious accident, other factors such as alcohol usually also play a role.

The NSW government is opposed to changing the law, arguing that there is compelling evidence of THC’s detrimental effects and increased risk of accidents. In a statement on the investigation, it also argued that it would be too difficult for drug testing teams to figure out who was using it legally and who wasn’t.

Professor Jennifer Martin of the John Hunter Hospital said that people responded differently to medicinal cannabis, so the brain fogging and impairment varied. “We have to remember that there is actually no evidence to support the clinical use of any of the cannabinoids, apart from two small indications for cannabidiol,” she told the inquiry.

Professor Jennifer Martin says that people react differently to medicinal cannabis.

Professor Jennifer Martin says that people react differently to medicinal cannabis.Recognition:Flavio Brancaleone

Cate Faehrmann, an MP for the NSW Greens and spokeswoman for the party for drug law reform, said the current laws are unfair and discriminatory. “It’s just silly that our driving rules didn’t change when medicinal cannabis became legal,” she said.

“Right now we have people who can choose to drive or, in many cases, take the one drug that works for them.”

A spokesman for Transport for NSW said THC can impair cognitive abilities such as judgement. “That’s why these rules are in place to discourage people from driving a vehicle if they’ve recently used drugs to reduce the risk of a fatal accident.”

Spackman was found not guilty. “I accept that she had an honest belief that she was not riding with THC in her system and that she had not actively smoked cannabis in the past 24 hours,” Heilpern noted in his decision. “It may be that the defendant’s reading is a mystery.” Nicole’s random drug test was positive. She hadn’t taken any drugs

Joel McCord

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