Concerns over island becoming drug haven

THE spectre of Guernsey becoming a haven for drug tourism, with adverse effects on mental health and childhood development, were raised during general debate on Guernsey’s governmental priorities yesterday afternoon.

Deputy Liam McKenna. (30987013)
Deputy Liam McKenna. (30987013)

States members, having spent two-and-a-half days altering the preferred list of projects on the Government Work Plan, then turned to the issue of reviewing the legal status of cannabis.

Deputy Liam McKenna warned the consequences of legalisation could be dire, citing the experience of Belfast, where he said communities had been ‘decimated and desecrated’ through drug use.

Couriers would be encouraged to bring drugs to the island in the knowledge that there were no legal penalties for possession, he said.

‘My biggest fear is organised crime coming to Guernsey. I would hope the States are not so naive as to think that legalisation of cannabis will not attract drug lords from around the UK and further afield,’ he said.

He went on to tell members about two associates of his who had suffered psychotic episodes as a result of consuming the class B drug.

Home Affairs member Deputy Sue Aldwell cited a series of statistical reports which analysed rates of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety following cannabis use and warned that the drug could affect the cognitive development of teenagers.

‘My research does not give me confidence that we can protect our children from harm by legalising and regulating cannabis,’ she said.

As one of the Health & Social Care members who pushed to prioritise the issue, Deputy Tina Bury pleaded with members to recognise that the proposal was merely to work out what resources would be needed in order to carry out a future review.

But Home Affairs president Rob Prow warned that the proposal would interfere with other important States projects. He reminded the Assembly that another workstream was well advanced considering non-punitive approaches to the possession of small quantities of drugs.

Debate continues today.

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