Cannabis pressure group questions need for medicinal cannabis users to give up driving license

ReLeaf warned that the practice would only result in patients no longer seeking medical advice and reverting back to the black market for their medication

ReLeaf has warned that the practice would only result in patients reverting back to the black market for their medication
ReLeaf has warned that the practice would only result in patients reverting back to the black market for their medication

The cannabis legalisation pressure group ReLeaf has questioned the need for patients using medicinal cannabis to have their driving license taken upon being granted permission to use the drug.

ReLeaf described the practice as discriminatory, arguing that the same conditions are not applied with other psychotropic medications.

It said the practice was negatively impinging on patients’ rights and freedoms as equal citizens of Malta.

The group said that doctors were being obliged to inform the Commissioner of police that a patient is using cannabis, in order for the police to proceed with the revocation of their driving license.

According to subsidiary legislation on the physical and mental health required to drive a vehicle “driving licences shall not be issued to, or renewed for, applicants or drivers who regularly use substances, in whatever form, which can hamper the ability to drive safely where the quantities absorbed are such as to have an adverse effect on driving.  This shall apply to all other medicinal products or combinations of medicinal products which affect the ability to drive”.

“ReLeaf recognizes that the psychoactive nature of THC based medications could hamper the ability to drive or operate machinery, however does not understand why these same parameters are not used with other psychotropic medications, such as sleeping pills,” it said in a statement.

“It is also not clear on which levels could the consumption of THC result as a danger and the time lapse needed between the last medication and the possibility to drive safely.”

It added that the revocation of one’s driving licence was further “unexplainable” when considering the effects of CBD based products, which have been declared by the World Health Organisation, as having no psychoactive properties and no effect on a person’s psychomotor skills.

“It is not clear how the law intends to protect society when in reality it has not scientifically quantified the risk of using cannabis and driving,” it said.

ReLeaf said it appreciated that safety of drivers and pedestrians was of paramount importance but said it felt that the current approach is just another attempt at demonizing cannabis.

“Additionally, this will scare patients away from seeking medical advice and revert back to the black market for their medicine,” ReLeaf said, adding that the current approach also reinforced the idea that patients were not using their medicine in a responsible manner.

ReLeaf called on local authorities to reconsider “this discriminatory and non-evidence based approach” and to consult with doctors and medicinal cannabis patients on a more realistic way forward.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe