While driving after using cannabidiol (CBD) should, in theory at least, be completely safe, many drivers are now facing license suspensions due to the trace amounts of THC that are found in many CBD products. The issues arise due to failed drug policies that place a blanket ban on driving after having consumed any illicit drug, no matter how small the consumed quantity may be.
Drivers are testing positive for cannabis and having their licenses suspended after consuming cannabidiol (CBD), a misadventure hitting an increasing number of drivers as CBD usage gains popularity.
One example highlighting the situation comes from France, where a tweet shared on Nov. 1 told how a young person used CBD to wean themselves off cannabis and ended up getting their license suspended.
For more news like this, download our free cannabis news app.
Driver’s License Suspensions Following CBD Use Are Common
Unfortunately, cases of drivers losing their licenses after consuming CBD are no longer isolated. In France, at least, other media outlets, such as BFM TV and France 3, have reported similar stories in recent weeks.
The problem is that while CBD is not technically a stupefying substance, CBD products still contain some trace amounts of THC. Thus, when highway codes forbid things such as “driving or accompanying a learner driver after having used drugs” (as in France) without specifying an upper legal limit, as with alcohol, drivers run into problems.
A Question of Detection Thresholds
With tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being targeted by many police controls, most of which set no thresholds, it is, therefore, possible to be tested positive for cannabis (well, THC) due to traces of THC present in CBD products.
Indeed, in the case of France, the Road Safety Authority makes this point explicit, stating that “driving, or accompanying a student driver, after having made use of substances or plants classified as narcotics, is prohibited, regardless of the quantity absorbed.”
A Regulatory Blur for Drivers Using CBD
With trace amounts of THC in CBD products and no limit on detection thresholds, drivers consuming CBD, even if it is technically legal, can still find themselves outside of the law.
And while challenging the suspension and any resulting penalties is possible, the judicial procedure is lengthy, expensive, and, at least in France, will not cancel the license suspension. As a result, “unless you want to make it a matter of principle, most people will avoid the hassle and expense,” laments French lawyer Etienne Lejeune.
To cope with the situation, the lawyer advises, at the time of control, to “ask for a blood sample for counter-expertise, present the purchase invoices, and do not acknowledge the facts.” Then, in the following weeks, “request a hair sample.”
The French Union of CBD Professionals (UPCBD), which also recommends that motorists “ask for a blood test,” adds there is the possibility of a “summary suspension in front of the administrative court,” which allows the driver to keep the right to drive.
Fixing the Gray Zone for CBD and Drivers
Beyond this advice, the president of the UPCBD, Charles Morel, advances several proposals to leave this regulatory “gray zone” behind. Among them are tests that are more reliable than the current salivary tests, with the installation of a threshold for the detection of THC that is “coherent and scientifically founded” on its actual effects on driving.
It is a legal debate that promises to be eventful. But, in the meantime, the only solution is to not consume CBD before driving if any level of THC can result in a license suspension. Even if it is legal, “pragmatically, you should not take it – or leave long enough before driving,” says Etienne Lejeune.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third-party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Hemp.im, its management, staff, or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published in Libération, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Hemp.im assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Hemp.im is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.