Drug-drive? Yes, if it’s medicinal

Adelaide Advertiser | Lauren Novak

USERS of medicinal cannabis would be able to drive while taking the drug after MPs voted to change proposed laws aimed at tightening restrictions on drug driving.

Police Minister Peter Malinauskas had told Parliament that motorists would not be allowed to drive while the drug was in their system and it posed a safety risk.

However, Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent moved in Parliament’s Upper House last night to allow medical cannabis users to drive if they had a certificate from their doctor. She was supported by Liberal and crossbench MPs.

Ms Vincent said the reversal of policy was “a victory for common sense”, but it cannot become law without also receiving approval from Parliament’s Lower House.

Liberal police spokesman Stephan Knoll said his party would look “more closely” at the amendment over coming weeks, before being asked to give final approval in the Lower House.

Also during debate on the Government’s drug driving laws, the Liberals joined with crossbenchers to refuse police extra powers to search vehicles of motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs.

Mr Malinauskas said this was currently prohibited and he was confused by the opposition to the move.

“This is a power that police are asking for. We think that’s reasonable and could lead to the seizure of more illegal drugs,” Mr Malinauskas said.

The Government and Australian Conservatives MPs pushed for the extra powers but the Liberal Party argued police already had the ability to search vehicles if they suspected illegal drugs were inside. Mr Knoll said the push for extra powers had been “sprung” on the Parliament without consultation.