Hemp-seed muesli led to ACT drug-driving charge: Laws under fire

A saliva swab that tests for drugs in drivers.
A saliva swab that tests for drugs in drivers. Photo: Ken Irwin
The ACT’s new drug-driving laws have come under fire after a senior public servant who ate a breakfast muesli containing hemp seeds was dragged through a nine-month court battle.
The 2011 laws raised immediate concerns from lawyers and civil libertarians for their zero-tolerance approach, which criminalises even the smallest trace of drugs found in a driver’s system.
Fears were raised that the laws, designed for road safety, ignored the actual impairment level of a driver and threatened to snare Canberrans who had accidentally or innocently ingested drugs.
That approach differs to drink- driving laws, where drivers are allowed to consume a legal minimum because it does not impair their ability to drive.
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