Govt roadside drug testing shock: the proposed rules are actually pretty good!



The Government has announced a new approach to roadside drug testing. It seems like a good compromise, and evidence based.

It’s kinda sad we’re amazed a government can do sensible things around drugs, but that’s this kinda government!

From 2021, if a driver is stopped they can be asked to do an oral swab. If they test positive they will be stopped from driving for 12 hours.

If they then also fail the existing touch-your-nose impairment test they can be prosecuted, just like now.

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But the threshold for any evidential blood sample will be set at a level of impairment equating to the alcohol limit – which is a huge improvement on the current permissible level of zero, and what we advocated for.

The currently available research shows it would take an extraordinary amount of cannabis to get to the level we routinely tolerate for alcohol.

They’ve come up with a pretty neat solution to satisfy the rabid calls for roadside testing in a way that doesn’t target those who are high but not impaired, and handily neutralising a potential reason to not vote Yes next year

This will happen regardless of the referendum but at least middle NZ will know impaired driving won’t be associated with a Yes vote.

They will need to ensure there are viable options for poorer and rural people who choose cannabis, for example areas with no Uber or public transport.

But this will ease concerns of more conservative voters and make it easier for more people to vote Yes in 2020.

Well done, Government.


Chris Fowlie is the CEO of Zeacann Limited, a medicinal cannabis producer; co-founder of the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council; president of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws NZ Inc; co-founder of The Hempstore Aotearoa; resident expert for Marijuana Media on 95bFM; cannabis blogger for The Daily Blog, and court-recognised independent expert witness for cannabis. The opinions expressed here are his own.



  1. We fully suport this policy as there are t many mad drivers outthere now.

    Even truck drivers are acting very strange sudenly over the last three years now, – by tail -gateing us car drivers trying to push as all to go faster now, as if they are stoned on drugs.
    This will slow them down we hope now.

    The road code says we must drive four lengths of our vehicle behind another vahicle, and truckies are only folloowing about one b train truck length behand cars now.

    • No they are not stoned, you are just going too slow. That’s a common problem around the Botany area.

      Yes I agree with Chris. This is an important step in the right direction as we now have a clear understanding of how cannabis and driving will be policed.

      • Boomer-ok
        Do you drive trucks?

        Sounds like it so answer why trucks tailgate behind all cars at only 20 meters bahind at 90kms please?

        It is breaking the road code dont you understand?
        Trucks need to slow down as our greypower chapter is stating that many are complaining about being tail-gated by trucks on our highways now.

        We have two cases that senoir citizens have been forced off the road onto road drains now so there is a dangous proceedure going on now by truckies driving behind cars far to close for safety.

        Trucks dont own the road citizens do so they need to be taught to respect other vehicles on the road.

        • If you are going 90 Kph in a 100 Kph zone then you should understand that they are public roads & not everyone wants to drive below the speed limit. My observation is that many of the congestion issues with traffic flow are caused by slow drivers, if someone wants to speed they make driving hard for themself, if people want to drive slow they make life difficult for everyone behind them, how fair is that? I totally agree about respecting other road users but respect goes both ways. Unless you have a GPS relying on your car speedo for an accurate speed reading is often not reliable also.

    • Stupid dickhead comment about truck drivers. Driving a truck is totally different to you driving your car. We (truck drivers) don’t like idiots who don’t understand the need momentum. Speed up dickhead or pull over and let the truckie through.

  2. Yes well done. First the detail work on the Cannabis Referendum and now this testing announcement–has sure neutralised National and NZ First attack lines, and potentially a number of uninformed older and or conservative voters will now be more likely to support YES.

  3. Sounds like a good call , except I wonder if those who choose to take cannabis via the oral mucosa [like chewing tobacco] may test higher than smokers or cookie munchers , even if they are less impaired.

    So a slow release lozenge which due to slow uptake , creates no sharp THC blood spike compared to ripping a big cone , may prove harmful with the law , even though you are administering with best health practise.

    I guess nothing is perfect , but maybe these tongue, gum and cheek cowboys should avoid sub lingual administration , if about to drive.

  4. I used to own a 1962 Dodge Dart ( Assembled in Petone. ) and there was nothing more fabulous to do of a Sunday than get stoned and drive off to take photographs, smoke cigarettes and build coffee’s with my little Italian stove top.
    Then one day, I noticed the rude end of what was to become a frightening trend.
    The rise, and rise, of the moron-driver.
    And as neoliberalism settled in like a chronic illness the prevalence of morons in cars driving on roads grew and grew.
    In this age of the terminally stupid that’s defined as the neoliberal era, terminal stupidity was encouraged by the system. The dumber you became? The more profitable to banksters and insurers you became to exploit.
    Nothing like a car crash between two morons to justifiably hike up insurance premiums and interest rates.
    Back in the Day of The Dodge people knew there was no need to be a ‘bumper-humper’.
    Just keep well back from the slower car in front because one’s able to see past that car better, it’s an optics thing, look it up. Then? When you can see the way is clear? Go like fuck ! 140 to 180 kph is fine if it means you spend less time on the wrong side of the road.
    Now? We have fabulous, double passing lanes but we also have traffic cops waiting to ping the capable driver speedily overtaking at the other end while the moron, arse-snuggler gets clean away with fucking up the flow, man.
    Thus, dumb begets dumber.
    The ONLY problem with AO/NZ roads is the moron drivers the rest of us must share them with.
    Re truckies? They’re likely high as fuck on Meth. I thought everybody knew that?
    Got a car up your arse?
    Pull over. Give the wanker the middle finger. Sorted.
    Tangled in traffic?
    Look people in the eye for Christ’s sake. Smile, wave, point, gesture. The moron stares to a halfway point down the bonnet. None of that eye contact shit, right moron?
    Know your car.
    Find somewhere safe and drive the buggery out of it. Learn how it works at different speeds with different loads. A fat uncle on the left hand side of the back seat will make that left had rear corner more likely to slip out on corners, especially when the road’s wet and roads are especially slippery just after that first shower after a long period of dry. ( Diesel particles from exhaust gasses etc. )
    Gravel roads are perfect training roads to practise controlled slides etc. Just don’t get caught.
    All wheel drive cars handle differently from rear wheel drive cars are different from front wheel drive cars are different from SUV’s etc.
    The moron, however, is entirely ignorant of the above nuances and will defend their right to remain as ignorant and annoying as possible because duh, an’ that.
    How’s your commonsense?
    Do you stick your diddle onto power points? Do you keep live hedgehogs in your underpants? Do you drink anti freeze ? Do you go naked unicycling? Would you swim around Stewart Island in a fur coat holding packets of beef mince? Would you “ Heeeere Kitty, kitty” a lion? A trick question? Which end of the branch should you sit on when you saw it off the tree? Take your time…
    If the above sounds like you? Sell your car. Pop on a condom. Buy knee pads.

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