by Olivier on 06/07/2018 | Consumption

Cannabis and driving in Europe – Part 5: What you need to know

Cannabis and driving Dutch law is merciless where anything related to driving is concerned. It punishes cannabis users and in the rest of Europe, the laws are even stricter. But what can you do to avoid being caught with cannabis when driving? This last part of an exclusive series from the Cannabis News Network offers some answers.

Police test drivers not only for alcohol but also for other substances such as amphetamines, cocaine and cannabis. Anyone who is over a given limit will be subject to sanctions. They face (heavy) fines and the loss of their licence. If you have an accident, you also run the risk of your insurer refusing to cover you.

What happens if you are caught driving with cannabis in Europe?

Driving while under the influence of cannabis is punished in Germany with a €500 fine and you lose your driving licence for three months.

In Belgium, the fine is between €1,600 and €16,000! On top of that, offenders will lose their licence for at least one month. To make matters worse, the judge can also decide to ban you from driving for up to five years. In the UK, cannabis users face losing their driving licence for a year, as well as a fine.

France has a zero tolerance policy. The fine can reach €4,500, and you can lose your driving licence for up to three years.

This also applies in Denmark, with the fine equalling 4% of your gross annual income.

In Spain, a positive saliva test costs €1,000. In addition, six out of twelve points will be deducted from your licence. If someone is still clearly under the influence of the drug at the time of the test, it may even result in a jail sentence.

In Italy, the approach is similar. The punishment for driving under the influence of cannabis ranges from a fine of between €1,500 and €6,000 plus up to a year in jail.

This is how to pass the saliva test

If there is any suspicion of drug use, the police is entitled to carry out a saliva test on the spot. If the test comes back positive, then generally a blood test is required, and that is what counts for any punishment. Drug checks are unpleasant, but they do not have to be the end of the world.

There are some proven tips that cannabis users need to know when dealing with the dreaded on-the-spot drug tests.

Often, it is smoking equipment that provides a reason for the police to carry out an on-the-spot drug test. Make sure you don’t leave anything like Rizlas, filters or the like lying around in your car, which might indicate drug use. If the police ask you whether you are consuming cannabis, deny it calmly but firmly.

THC is fat-soluble, so before getting into your car, eat something greasy or rinse your mouth with olive oil. Looking after your teeth and gums is just as important. That includes brushing your teeth, flossing between your teeth and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.

If you follow these tips, you minimise the risk of a positive saliva test.

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