States to scope a review of island’s cannabis laws

A LOOK at how the States can progress a review of the legal status of cannabis in the island will be considered by Health & Social Care, the States agreed by 20 votes to 14 yesterday, after a long debate on the pros and cons of legalising the drug.

Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard. (Picture by James Black, 30986673)
Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard. (Picture by James Black, 30986673)

It means the committee will now conduct a scoping exercise on how it could move forward to consider legalisation.

Deputies were at pains all day to make clear that this was not a vote to legalise cannabis.

But there were also hints raised that if deputies had rejected the move, some would have looked to bring it back as a requete, most strongly suggested by Deputy Marc Leadbeater, a member of HSC and a director of a company in the cannabis industry.

'Based on worldwide evidence, we are convinced that cannabis should be controlled and regulated by government, not left to the black market,' he said.

The work goes ahead, though, despite opposition from Deputy Al Brouard, president of HSC, who said he favoured neither option the States was offered as a workstream for his Public Health team – scoping the cannabis review, or reviewing the roles of the medical officer of health following the review of the Covid pandemic.

He said that the cannabis investigation would take away resources from things which he said were much more important. While those who needed cannabis on medical grounds could now access it.

‘Is this really a priority when we have all these other issues in health?’

But his colleagues proved they had a stronger appetite for the review than he had hoped.

The Covid review was rejected 18 votes to 16, with five members absent.

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