The 14th of October 2020 will be remembered as an important day in medical cannabis history in Victoria.
On the 14th, the Victorian government agreed to change the medical cannabis and driving laws to allow medical cannabis patients to have the same rights to drive as every other type of patient.
Many advocates for both medical and adult use cannabis have been working toward these changes for roughly 5 years. The current law is discriminatory against medical cannabis patients.
As it stands, medical cannabis is the only prescribed medication where an individual testing positive for the presences of their medication in their system is punished by law and loses their license. The important factor here is presence, not impairment.
Advocates for the reform of medical cannabis and driving laws have been asking for fair change to the law. Simply, to make medical cannabis equal to other ‘traditional’ medications that doctors prescribe on a daily basis.
Fiona Patten of the Reason Party has been pushing the Victorian government to make this change for the past five years. Finally, her proposal to change the law to be equal and fair for medical cannabis patients was given the green light. As a result, a working group including MPs, police and doctors has been formed to help shape a law that will benefit thousands of patients.
Ms Patten’s original proposal focussed on:
- medical cannabis patients
- with a valid prescription
- and who are not impaired
She argued that patients meeting these requirements should have a legal defence against the presence of THC in their system. The change in law would put medical cannabis in line with other drugs like opioids, benzos and other prescribed and impairing drugs.
The exciting part is that Ms Patten’s vision for medical cannabis and driving laws will soon come true in Victoria. A report from the working group will be delivered by December 18th with implementation by early next year.
Thanks to Fiona Patten and all of those who fought, and continue to fight, for medical cannabis patients’ rights.