Between driving and salivary testing, French law remains severe. Faced with medical marijuana what will it be in other countries?
In France, prohibitionist country par excellence, motorists can pass a salivary test during a control. The goal: to detect cannabis among other substances. At the same time, in Israel, cannabis medical license holders will now be able to drive a vehicle without fear of criminal charges.
The saliva test for cannabis screening in France
Le screening test is mandatory in a fatal car accident. On the other hand, it is optional if the accident has resulted in only material damage, a traffic offense or the agent's suspicion of consumption (for example if he smells of escaping from the vehicle).
However, during a routine check, a test can also be done.
The police or the gendarmerie can look for four families of substances: cannabis, cocaine (including crack), opiates and amphetamines. We thus note that the French law includes in the same unit and without distinction all the products that it classifies as "drug".
Un salivary test can be practiced directly at the time of the control. On the other hand, if a urine test of cannabis screening is done, a special place and the presence of a doctor is mandatory.
The result comes in a few minutes. In case of challenge from the driver, a blood test may be performed.
In the case of amphetamine and certain opioids provided as part of a medical treatment, a positive result may appear. The motorist must provide all the supporting documents.
However, in the context of medical marijuana, if you take treatment abroad and have a test in France, the situation can be more complex. And for good reason, molecules derived from cannabis have a duration of persistence in the body that exceeds that of the effects.
Salivary tests indicating past consumption but no alteration of present behavior
Concretely, this means that one can still have THC molecules in the body, without the psycho-active effects.
Indeed, unlike alcohol, a screening test does not indicate whether the driver is sober or not. This comes from the way in which the THC is metabolizing in the human body. In addition, the component that screening tests are trying to identify is a THC derivative called THC-COO-glucuronide. This molecule is not psychoactive.
Based on this conclusion, in other countries, the regulation of driving has adapted.
The Israeli case of prescription driving.
All patients treated with medical cannabis were under the threat of the law while driving.
The reason is simple. The law prohibits driving when cannabis compounds are present in the blood. However, the components of cannabis, unlike alcohol, remain in the blood long after use. And this even if the effects have disappeared.
This week, new traffic regulations will come into effect. The debate had begun the month of February. Drivers who receive a treatment of products qualified as "dangerous substances" will be allowed, under certain conditions, to take the wheel.
However, it should be noted the ban on driving under the influence of cannabis. This is to prevent a positive result from being considered criminal.
The Ministry of Health says it's not a driver's license under the influence of dangerous drugs. It is only a withdrawal of the criminal character of certain situations that until now were offenses. This will make a distinction between having a positive THC-COO-glucuronide test (non-psychoactive), while driving without having any problem discerning the reality.