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Australian state is being called on to stop punishing drivers if they have marijuana in their system

Rachel Lang

| Last updated 

Australian state is being called on to stop punishing drivers if they have marijuana in their system


According to Western Sydney University, those with an affinity for gambling would bet on Labor being the odds-on winner at the NSW election.

So New South Wales may emerge from the weekend with a new State Premier once the votes are counted.

But, will there be a massive electoral upset this time with seats nicked left, right, and centre from the Labor and Liberal parties by the smaller grassroots parties?


If they do, it could spell good news for Australian TV host turned political campaigner James Mathison.

He's one of those small fries taking on the big guys in the NSW election for the Legalise Cannabis Party.

Mathison told LADbible he has previously worked on campaigns to change Australia's drug legislation, however this election feels different.

"Previously, there’s been a bit of pushback," he said.


"People weren’t as keen to run the ads [to promote the campaign to legalise medical marijuana in Australia], but this time, resistance is falling away."

Cannabis is a controlled substance and the purchase of the plant is therefore a crime in Australia, unless buyers have a doctor's prescription for pain management.

According to Heathline, cannabis is also detectable in the human body for 30 days after last use.

Daily users, such as those that may use medicinal marijuana to alleviate pain, may remain see the drug detectable months after the fact.

Credit: Helen Sessions / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Helen Sessions / Alamy Stock Photo

Current legislation in all Aussie states (except for Tasmania) reveal motorists are prohibited from driving with any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main building block that makes up cannabis, in their system.

So, for those using doctor-prescribed medicinal marijuana, how do they drive to work? Or go pick up groceries from across town? Or the kids up from school?

"At the moment, if you’re in chronic pain, you can take a painkiller or an opioid and get behind the wheel of a car on the same or next day without any consequences," the former Australian Idol host explained.


"If you’re using cannabis in the medicinal sense to treat your pain, and drive your car to work the next day then you're putting your licence and maybe even your livelihood at risk.

"It doesn’t make any sense."

This led the Legalise Cannabis Party to work hand-in-hand with activists from Craze Collective to come up with a targeted campaign to send a clear message to motorists in NSW: Just legalise it already, it's time.

Mathison said Australia's legal system has twists in order to penalise your Average Joe.


"So a doctor says it’s safe and effective, and yet the same compound that I can grow in my backyard is magically no longer safe or effective," he said.

"Now it’s a dangerous and harmful drug. That seems crazy to me."

He added: "I think people realise that Colorado [legalised] it, Canada did it, Mexico’s doing it, Germany’s doing it, and Thailand’s doing it and all of the s**t in those countries that people were terrified of [once weed was legalised] hasn’t eventuated."

In pro-marijuana nations such as Malta and Canada, legalising weed didn't trigger the End of Days.

Road accidents didn't increase.

Credit: Naturfoto-Online / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Naturfoto-Online / Alamy Stock Photo

In fact, everything stayed pretty much the same for people living abroad with legalised weed.

Craze Collective founder Alec Zammitt explained the science about hitting the road after a joint doesn't actually stack up to the impairment the law argues it does.

"I'm no doctor or scientist, however, I have read published studies by scientists at institutions such as Sydney University’s Lambert Initiative," he said.

"They have concluded the presence of THC in a driver’s system does not necessarily indicate impairment and current testing methods can result in false positive results."

Instead, the Australian Government uses such research as a shield to keep medicinal marijuana outlawed.

Zammitt, who founded the pro-cannabis culture action group 'Who Are We Hurting?' went on to point out that recent research shows 'no increases in crash or culpability risk were detected' for marijuana-smoking motorists with THC in their system.

"Overall, the increase in crash risk associated with THC is similar to that associated with a low-range blood alcohol concentration of up to 0.05 per g/L, a level currently accepted as legal throughout Australia," he added.

New South Wales Police was approached for a comment as well as provide any data that linked marijuana - or any drug use - to crash statistics.

Weed can affect your body in so many different ways. Credit: Joe Bird / Alamy Stock Photo
Weed can affect your body in so many different ways. Credit: Joe Bird / Alamy Stock Photo

They provided no data or analytics, instead issuing a statement to LADbible.

"In NSW, it is an offence to use or attempt to use a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with the presence of any illegal drug in your system," a police spokesperson said.

"As your questions relate to current legislation, it would be a matter for the government and your inquiry should be directed there."

But, with election day looming, we might not have the same government this time next week.

Looks like we'll have to wait and see how James Mathison and the Legalise Cannabis Party go come March 25 then.

Featured Image Credit: Legalise Marijuana Party, blickwinkel/Alamy. Cum Okolo / Alamy.

Topics: Drugs, Crime, Politics, News, Australia

Rachel Lang
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