Skip navigation

Parliament to Debate Fair Drug Driving Laws for Medicinal Cannabis Patients

profile image
Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2022

The NSW Upper House is set to debate the Greens’ bill to amend the end the unfair prosecution of medicinal cannabis patients by giving them a defence against drug driving charges if they have taken their medicine as prescribed and are not impaired. 

The bill was introduced into the Legislative Council on 17 November 2021 by Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for Drug Law Reform and Harm Reduction and was referred to the Upper House Law and Justice Committee which reported on 11 August 2022

The bill will be debated in the NSW Upper House on the afternoon of Wednesday 12 October. 

“The state’s unfair drug driving laws are punishing medicinal cannabis patients for driving even though they are not impaired,” said Cate Faehrmann. 

“Many patients turn to cannabis because it is the only medicine that brings them relief from conditions like PTSD or chronic pain. These patients are then forced to choose between driving or using this medicine. 

“The law should have been reformed as soon as medical cannabis was legalised. Instead, medicinal cannabis patients have spent six years facing discrimination.

“Other jurisdictions have successfully allowed cannabis patients to drive. It’s time for NSW to change these absurd and unfair laws and end the persecution of innocent people. I urge all parties to support this sensible bill,” said Cate Faehrmann.


The law as it currently stands in NSW means medicinal cannabis patients risk testing positive to THC and losing their licence for 3 months, but patients who use morphine are provided a medical defence against testing positive while driving, under section 111 of the Road Transport Act 2013.

The United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand make a medical defence available to patients with THC in their system provided they are not impaired and are using the drug as directed. 

Roadside drug tests are incredibly sensitive. Patients can test positive 24 hours or more after they have consumed cannabis, well after any impairment has worn off. 

The committee heard evidence that increased crash risk associated with being intoxicated with cannabis was 40% while driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 increased crash risk by 100% and driving a motorbike increased the risk by 3,000%.  

Fresh Leaf Analytics, the leading supplier of data on the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia, found that the number of active medical patients had grown from 30,000 at the end of 2020 to 70,000 in September 2021.

**Medicinal cannabis patients who have been impacted by the drug driving laws are available for interview on request. 

profile image
Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2022


Health Services Amendment (Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) Bill speech

Mr President, I proudly rise to introduce the Health Services Amendment (Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) Bill 2022.  The Greens fully support the NSWNMA and its demands and this bill gives effect to the majority of the NSW Nurses and Midwives 2022 award claim. 


Greens Introduce Bill for Nurse to Patient Ratios

Greens MP and health spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has introduced a bill to legislate nurse and midwife-to-patient ratios into the NSW Upper House today which would mandate safe levels of staffing in public hospital emergency departments and wards across the state. The Health Services Amendment (Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) Bill 2022...


Liberals have rocks in their heads when it comes to koalas: Greens

Liberal party MPs have rocks in their heads when it comes to koalas and if they think that reigniting the Koala Wars won’t harm them at the state election, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and koala spokesperson. Last week, National Party MP Dugald Saunders introduced a controversial bill that would...


Minns and Toole: Break gambling industry’s stranglehold of politics in NSW

The Opposition Leader, Chris Minns and NSW National Party Leader, Paul Toole, can break the stranglehold the gambling industry has on politics in NSW and neutralise any electoral threats the industry may be making, by also refusing to enter into any agreements until they act on the recommendations from the...