On Thursday 20 April 2023, I asked the Transport Minister about the government's review of roadside drug testing and impacts on medicinal cannabis patients.
You can read my question and the answer below, or find the full transcript and video link in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).
Mr BERKMAN: My question this morning is to the Minister for Transport. In August last year the minister said the government was reviewing the state’s roadside drug testing program, including the impacts on medicinal cannabis patients who have THC in their system but are not driving while impaired. Can the minister advise when this review will be completed and the outcomes announced?
Mr BAILEY: I thank the member for the question. I think everybody in this chamber knows how committed I am to road safety. My record on this has been very strong. We have cracked down on speeding. We have cracked down on distraction. We have cracked down on no seatbelts. We have cracked down on drink-driving where we saw an increase during the pandemic. Our recent road safety campaigns have been targeting that specifically. I am glad to report to the chamber that so far we are down 21 fatalities on last year, but we have still lost 68 Queenslanders this year. Road safety remains an important issue. We have seen some advocacy from those members in the community who are managing chronic pain in terms of medicinal cannabis. With the current regime we can measure impairment for alcohol. It is very clear. That is where the .01s and .05s—and .177 I recall—come from.
Measuring impairment is not possible at the moment technologically in terms of drug driving. There is research going on in this regard internationally. We are looking at work being done in other states and in other countries. There is research going on in corporations. Those people with chronic pain who need to take medicinal cannabis where this is not an issue of impairment are advocating that we look at whether impairment can be measured. That is what that review is about. We expect that to come in by early next year. I will certainly keep the House informed.
I just say this: I will never as the Minister for Transport and Main Roads compromise on road safety—ever. I will never compromise. We will look at where the technology is and what is possible in terms of people with chronic pain who are managing that in a particular way—and also pharmaceuticals. There is also an issue out there in terms of how people might drive safely or not. If we can measure impairment then we should be looking at how that is being applied and keeping up to date with the latest in technology and innovation. That is our commitment. I make it very clear: I will never compromise on road safety. We should be aware of emerging technology so that people who are in that situation might be supported better as long as there is no risk to other people on our roads.