A Lismore magistrate today warned drivers that cannabis could stay in their system for up to 20 days after smoking it. Magistrate Jeff Linden issued the caution after dealing with three drivers caught driving with an illicit drug in their system.
Two of the drivers claimed to have smoked a joint the night before while one was using cannabis for pain relief. Mark William Lumsdaine of East Lismore pleaded guilty to driving with cannabis present in his blood on 22 March.
The Lismore local court heard that he had smoked a joint a couple of days before, which was something he did to deal with the pain from a back injury.
After reading submissions from Mr Lumsdaine’s doctor, Magistrate Linden said ‘I accept that he has got pain but cannabis is illegal’. ‘There is ample evidence to suggest he has an injury to his back and there is no suggestion that he was detected for poor driving’, he said.
Mr Linden recorded no conviction and placed him on a 12 month bond.
Two other drivers admitted to smoking cannabis the night before being detected. Chad Marshall of Rock Valley was detected by police driving in Hindmarsh Street in Lismore on 22 March. He told police he had been to a party the night before when a joint was passed around and he had thought it was a cigarette.
Douglas Alan Jones of Bexhill also told police he had smoked cannabis in a joint the night before being detected but had thought it would be out of his system the following day.
Magistrate Linden recorded no conviction against either driver and also placed them on 12-month good behavior bonds.
Another Lismore magistrate David Heilpern recently raised the difficulties of sentencing motorists caught with cannabis in their system.
He said there was no evidence that smoking cannabis in days or weeks prior affected a driver’s ability.