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People power pushes change to roadside testing laws

Thousands of people have signed a petition to Parliament to change roadside drug test laws.

The petition calls for patients using medicinal cannabis to have a legal defence provided that they are not impaired.

Medicinal cannabis is the only prescription medicine that is penalised in roadside drug testing, and is an anomaly caused by the fact that the drug was illegal when the laws were passed in 2006.

Medicinal cannabis has been legal in NSW since 2016.

The Petition is sponsored by Legalise Cannabis NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This medicine is taken by more than 300,000 Australians and is a highly effective treatment for pain, anxiety, epilepsy, cancer treatment, multiple sclerosis and more,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Yet patients everywhere except Tasmania risk losing their licence if they drive - even if they’re not impaired.

“The issue here is that cannabis remains detectable long after any impairment to driving has ceased.

“This is patently unfair to patients who find medicinal cannabis effective in controlling the pain associated with a range of conditions from multiple sclerosis and arthritis to anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder.

“There is no other prescription drug unfairly penalised in this way by law enforcement.

“These unfair laws are specifically harsh for those in regional, rural and outer suburban areas where public transport is simply not an option.”

Mr Buckingham introduced a Bill to change the roadside drug testing law in August and expects to put it to a vote next year.

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