Cannabis use and driving in NZ – All you need to know about the new laws

A cop giving a ticket to a driver. In New Zealand, you can soon be asked to do a roadside test by the NZ police to check for drugs like cannabis or methamphetamine.

The New Zealand government is planning to introduce random roadside testing for THC and other substances from April 2023. Here is a quick rundown of the new laws and what it means for users of medical marijuana.


The background

In 2020, over 100 people were killed in accidents where a driver had consumed drugs. In order to minimise this number and bring casualties due to drug driving down to zero, the Parliament passed a legislation called the Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment in March this year.


What is the new law all about?

The amendment allows NZ Police to randomly test drivers for drugs, similar to breath testing that is in place for detecting alcohol. A number of substances, like THC, cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, Ecstasy/MDMA and sedatives, can be detected using oral fluid testing. The law also sets new blood criminal limits and infringement thresholds for 25 substances that cause impairment.


What this means for me as a medicinal cannabis user

If you use medicinal marijuana to alleviate pain or for other chronic illnesses, you need to make sure that you aren’t driving when you are impaired, just as you wouldn’t when under the influence of alcohol. If you have feel that you are impaired, we recommend getting a taxi or asking your whānau to drop or pick you up. If you are NOT impaired you are permitted to drive with THC in your system as long as you can show the cannabis has been prescribed on medical grounds.


Got questions?

We have a legal FAQs section that you can check out in case you have any questions about the legal side of marijuana consumption in NZ. If you would like to speak to us, book an appointment using the link below or give us a call.