By Roland Sebestyén
A number of senior ministers and officials from the government of Jersey have spoken about legalising recreational cannabis on the island.
According to the Jersey Evening Post, the discussion on a possible easing of cannabis policy on the channel island has been going on for a while now, with a growing number of officials showing support for change.
As the paper reports, one of them is Jersey’s Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, who said while a “more cautious approach” was needed he would support legalising cannabis for recreational purposes.
He said: “It needs a more cautious approach, but if it is proven to be good for society then it is something I would support.
“It is hard to say if we will follow suit, but I am almost certain it is something that will be debated in the next government’s term.’
“Jersey has always been renowned for its high-quality agricultural products, and we have made such progress with medicinal cannabis over here which has allowed us to get a head start on the rest of the world.”
Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida confirmed that recreational cannabis use could very well be legalised on the island “in the future.”
He added: “The timing has to be right, and we have to weigh up the positives and negatives shown in other jurisdictions.
“While I do not think there is a financial or moral issue, we have to ask ourselves if we want to become a hotspot for drug tourism if nearby jurisdictions do not follow suit.”
Deputy in the States of Guernsey Gavin St Pier is also in favour of a regulated, legalised recreational cannabis market.
Mr St Pier said: “‘As medicinal cannabis is imported, a proportion of that is going to the recreational market, and as that continues it will become unsustainable.
“The same product is legal for medicinal purposes, but illegal for recreational purposes, and this will inevitably drive a re-evaluation of the way we look at cannabis. It is unnecessary to put resources into controlling the illegal market when the same product is legal for another use.
“I have felt for some time that it is in the islands’ interests to adopt a different approach, and I think it is only a matter of time before we do so.’
“We need to legalise it because that way, just like alcohol and tobacco, you can regulate its quality, who has access to it, its age limit, and it gives a much better public health response.
“Just like the medicinal cannabis industry, you can regulate the market, tax it and turn it into a revenue stream.”
As we reported in the summer, a multi-stakeholder cannabis trade organisation – the Cannabis Services Advisory Board – has launched on the island of Jersey in preparation for the next phase of the regulated cannabis sector in the British Isles.
Jersey and the Channel Islands are getting one step closer to an open market. If they did legalise cannabis, they would be able to serve as an example for the UK government.
To be fair, some say they already did that when opened a dialogue on the matter; something in which only a very few among the Tories would take part.