Medicinal Cannabis & Driving Legislation in Queensland

In this article, we explore the laws and consequences around driving and medicinal cannabis in Queensland.
Mar 18

Can you drive on medicinal cannabis in Queensland?

In Queensland, you are unable to drive if you are undertaking medicinal cannabis treatment. Guidance from the Queensland Government categorically states: “It is illegal for any patient being treated with medicinal cannabis containing THC to drive while undergoing treatment. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis”. 

This advice is further reiterated on the Queensland Police website, which advises: “As the use of medicinal cannabis continues to grow, police remind motorists that even if prescribed a medicine containing THC, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle while it remains in your system.”

What are the laws surrounding driving and medicinal cannabis in Queensland?

The main law which governs driving and cannabis in Queensland is the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995. Under S. 79, subsection 2AA.

It states: “Any person who, while a relevant drug is present in the person’s blood or saliva -

(a) drives a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or

(b) attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or

(c) is in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel;

is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 14 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.”

In the context of this law, THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) is classed as a “relevant drug.”

As Queensland Health guidance clarifies, this law also applies to medicinal cannabis use. The organisation advises: “if the prescribed medicinal cannabis impacts an individual such that they are impaired while driving, or if the medicinal cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and they drive, this may be an offence under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, irrespective that the medicinal cannabis was prescribed by an authorised prescriber.”  

Those driving across the Queensland/ New South Wales border should also be advised that while the rules surrounding medicinal cannabis in New South Wales are covered by different laws, they have similar restrictions to Queensland. For more information, read about the rules on medicinal cannabis and driving in New South Wales.

What are the consequences if I’m caught driving on medicinal cannabis in Queensland?

The consequences for medicinal cannabis use and driving depend on:

  • Whether it was your first offence
  • If the drug was simply present in your system, or it impaired your driving.

Regarding first offences, the Queensland Government website notes that a magistrate may:

  • disqualify you from driving for between 1 to 9 months
  • fine you up to $2,167
  • impose a maximum term of imprisonment up to 3 months.

A paper from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads - who manage Queensland’s road network - note that for second offences, fines can increase to $3,096, while prison sentences can increase to 6 months. The paper also acknowledges far steeper sentences, points and fines for those deemed to have had their driving impaired by the drug.

Are the rules different for CBD Oil in Queensland?

While CBD is not specified as a relevant drug under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, the Queensland Government or Queensland Health authorities have yet to publish guidance on its safe use for driving in the state like similar bodies in Victoria and New South Wales. 

Thus, while it would appear driving while solely using CBD products is legal in Queensland, in the absence of official guidance, residents should exercise caution.

Is there roadside drug testing for medicinal cannabis in Queensland?

There is roadside testing in Queensland for cannabis, which also covers medicinal cannabis. According to the Queensland Government website, police have the power to stop drivers and test them under a number of circumstances. The Government website states: “ The tests can be carried out at random breath testing sites and at targeted drug test sites. You can also be pulled over and tested by a police officer if they suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs.” 

Testing is carried out via saliva and testing takes 3-5 minutes to return a result.

I’ve got a medicinal cannabis prescription. Am I exempt from cannabis-related driving offences in Queensland?

Much like medicinal cannabis rules relating to driving in Victoria, Queensland provides no prescription defence if you’re caught driving with THC in your system. If you’re caught driving with THC in your system or are found to be driving under the influence of THC, you will be charged under Queensland’s zero tolerance policy.

Does being a medicinal cannabis patient affect my car insurance policy?

Given car insurance policies are dependent on the cover you have, there’s no definitive way to answer whether your treatment will affect your insurance or not.  

Though little is known at present about how treatment will affect car insurance, drug driving charges have adverse effects on your insurance. Large, well-known insurance firms like AAMI note on their website that driving under the influence of drugs can void your insurance policy.

If you’re thinking of undergoing medicinal cannabis treatment, we recommend you speak to your car insurance provider to see if they have specific guidance for your policy.

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