Losing your driving licence for three months is a massive punishment, especially for country people. Incomparable to the cautions police give you for possession of up to fifteen grams of pot.
The drug driving rules were introduced to catch truckies on speed as I remember, but instead they're catching tons of stoner dolphins in their shark nets. Did they know what they were doing, was this ever their intention? I'm never sure and want to believe we are nicer than that. And endlessly proved wrong!
Whichever way you look at it, they've stumbled onto a lethal weapon against potsmokers and the RDT highway patrol cars are using it to full advantage. Except their manual is way out of date. I've heard a number of stories about them chasing Kombi drivers at MardiGrass, frantically passing other cars to pull them over to test their saliva. Fact is 42 Kombis were in the Konvoy but most of them were $100,000 rigs bought cheap off hippies decades ago and now owned by wealthy collectors, who never smoke weed and maybe never did! Funny.
They tested about 1500 people over the MardiGrass weekend for 29 positives. Doug was 2 of them. He smoked a joint Thursday night at home and tested positive driving into Nimbin Friday around midday. Didn't smoke again and then driving in Sunday morning tested positive again, more than sixty hours later. No wonder people are so angry.
There may well be more busted because the third test in the lab, when they send your saliva away, pretty much catches everyone who's had a toke in days perhaps, measuring down to 5 nanograms of thc, thats 5 parts per billion. No one seems to know exactly how long after a smoke until you have less than 5 nanograms in your saliva. And is it different for every body?
The only way I know to find out your reading is to plead not guilty, then they tell you how many nanograms you had in your spit sample. I had 1250 they said which was over an hour after a joint. 250 times over the limit! Would love to know the numbers and how long after using from anyone else who has plead not guilty. The cop who booked me agreed on court day I did not appear impaired. It's my daily medicine, what I'm used to. I'm more likely impaired without it.
Anyway I digress, this is what is important. If you get busted for drug driving you will in all probability get a letter in the mail with an $1100 fine and asking you to surrender your licence for 3 months. Unless you were impaired I suggest you turn over the letter and take the option to appeal the conviction. You will then be sent a court appearance date and then you can state your case of why you use cannabis and that you were not impaired and hopefully the magistrate respects your choice of medicine and lets you keep driving, and gives you no fine, or at least much less that $1100. I'm sure it would help if you have been approved for legal weed.
I suggest you write a letter to the magistrate spelling out your circumstances and cannabis use. They know this is nothing to do with impairment as much as the police do, but they have more discretion in their rule book.
The Roadside Drug Testing regime is a terrific example of bad laws breeding disrespect and disorder. We know Big Pharma will do whatever it takes to keep weed illegal to maximise their profits, but also now I realise, bit slow, the insurance companies also love this drug war. Any accident and your blood shows even a sceric of any illegal drug and some, maybe even most insurers, just walk away. Some still have “impairment” not presence as the test, but fact is, weed stays in your blood for months. Unlike all the other illegal drugs, cannabis is fat soluble and our body hangs onto it. Our endocannabinoid system loves it. It can remain in our saliva for days it seems, in our urine for weeks, and in our blood for months. Nothing to do with impairment, just presence.
My guess, in the near future cannabis users will be allowed to drive, but only if they have legal weed. They know how to coerce us in the direction they want. Like we may be needing "proof of jab" to go into the pub soon. Will it be a mark in our forehead?!
If you got busted for drug driving at MardiGrass, or in fact anywhere, please contact the HEMP Embassy.Michael Balderstone
President Nimbin HEMP Embassy & Aust HEMP Party