Medicinal cannabis trial begins


The state government has started a trial to determine whether Victorians, including those in Wyndham, who use medicinal cannabis can drive safely.

Premier Jacinta Allan and Roads and Road Safety Minister Melissa Horne announced they have partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to assess the effects of doctor-prescribed medicinal cannabis on people’s driving in a closed-circuit track trial.

Currently, it is illegal in Victoria to drive with any detectable amount of THC, the active compound in medicinal cannabis – which can remain in a person’s system for several days after they take their prescribed medication.

According to the state government, medicinal cannabis use in Victoria has increased by 700 per cent over the past two years, but there is still limited evidence globally about the impact of THC on driving.

As part of the Victorian Budget 2024/25, the government will invest $4.9 million in the trial, which will study prescribed medicinal cannabis users driving on a dedicated track.

Swinburne University will soon begin the 18-month trial, which will take place on a closed-circuit track but mimic real-world driving conditions.

Researchers will review participants’ ability to manage distractions and assess their driving performance including steering, braking and speed control.

To qualify, participants must have been prescribed medicinal cannabis for a sleep disorder, chronic pain, or a mental health condition for at least six months.

The trial will include pre and post-drive drug impairment screenings.

Alongside the trial, the government is working with medical professionals to create resources that help doctors consider their patients’ driving needs when prescribing medicinal cannabis.

Premier Jacinta Allan said, “Under our Government, Victoria was the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis – now our world-first trial will see if those taking this medication can safely get behind the wheel.”