Jersey politician to propose decriminalising cannabis for personal use

  • ITV Channel's Tim Backshall has been looking at the proposed changes to Jersey's cannabis law

A proposition aimed at decriminalising cannabis in Jersey could be debated this year.

Deputy Tom Coles is drawing up a proposal that would see cannabis decriminalised for personal use on the island.

The rules around cannabis have already eased this year; repeat offenders in possession of small amounts can be sent to their parish hall to be fined rather than going through the courts.

But this latest move would mean that any personal use of small quantities would be decriminalised.

Some Jersey residents have been calling for a change in the law for years, such as James Bedding: a quadriplegic who has taken it for years for medicinal and recreational purposes.

He said: "I did start as a recreational user and now I use it medically. I consume cannabis in a vapouriser to help with my spasms.

"It can really aid your life if you consume it in the correct manner and it's regulated."

"We wouldn't see any real movement on decriminalisation until the later half of next year." - Deputy Tom Coles Credit: ITV Channel

Deputy Tom Coles said, "There is a lot of evidence that now shows that if people are given space, time, and support, eventually they'll stop using substances."

Deputy Coles stressed that decriminalising the drug would not mean legalising it.

However, not all government officials are on board with decriminalisation.

Deputy Kevin Lewis explained: "I'm all in favour of anything that a doctor prescribes, but I do fear that decriminalising cannabis could send out the wrong message."

Deputy Coles believes roadside drug testing kits would also be needed, like those in the UK, to ensure users don't drive under the influence.

Other parts of Europe, including Germany, Malta, and Luxembourg, have partially decriminalised cannabis use.

Jonas Wiening, a German journalist, said opinion is still very divided in his country.

He explained: "It's 50-50. People can buy [cannabis] in an illegal way where they don't know where it is coming from, so it's good to stop that.

"But on the other side, people argue that it can be a gateway for other drugs."

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