He got sentenced to 4 years….!!!!
Header image Lucia Pagliarone (she got 3 years) embraced by a supporter on the Royal Court steps yesterday before she was sentenced to three years in prison for supplying cannabis, and three months for money laundering. She has consistently campaigned for drug law reform on medicinal and economic grounds.(30947751)
GUERNSEY. Michael Clarke and Lucia Faith Pagliarone jailed for #cannabis cultivation and supply, much, if not all, was for medical purposes. Savage punishments in a jurisdiction which is now exploiting the legal cannabis market. #drugspolicy https://t.co/APRfIE0gKz pic.twitter.com/vCPuoBCw0k
— CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform (@CLEARUK) June 20, 2022
Campaigners on the island of Guernsey have responded following the sentencing of three people who supplied patients with medical cannabis.
Guernsey’s cannabis laws have been described as “archaic” and “unjust” by supporters of three individuals, who illegally supplied a number of patients with cannabis for medical purposes.
Sixty eight-year-old Michael Clarke, was sentenced to four years in prison for the production of cannabis at the Guernsey’s Royal Court on Monday 20 June.
He had initially been growing it to help his wife, Mandy, who has a neurodegenerative condition that causes chronic pain.
Lucia Pagliarone, 35, a high profile cannabis advocate and the founder of the Guernsey Drug Strategy Campaign, was also sentenced to three years and three months for the supply of a Class B drug after pleading guilty to charges.
The court heard that Pagliarone had been supplying cannabis to a small network of patients who were using it for a range of medical conditions.
Pagliarone’s partner, and the father to her twin girls, Christopher Burnet, was given an eighteen-month suspended prison sentence for supply and possession.
An outpouring of support
Dozens of campaigners turned up at court on Monday to support the trio and many have expressed their sadness at the outcome of the case in the days since.
A spokesperson for the Guernsey Drug Strategy Campaign, who has been working alongside Lucia for the last seven years, said it was an “emotional time” for the community.
“Given our jurisdiction’s archaic laws, the results from the trial aren’t unexpected to me,” he said.
“I find it hard to see people as kind as Mike going through this sort of trauma. Yes, they broke laws, but one must question how people can defend that argument, when the law that was broken is unjust and based on a time when our world leaders and governments openly accepted and even promoted racism.”
The need for reform
The sentencing came just weeks after the government’s Health and Social Care Committee submitted a proposal to look at legalising cannabis on the island, as part of the Government Work Plan (GWP).
Adam Martel, who runs the Medical Cannabis Patients Guernsey Facebook group, agreed that the law reform was needed to reflect the growing evidence base that shows cannabis can be beneficial for a wide range of conditions.
“My heart does go out to all affected in this case. As much as we now have access to medical cannabis via private clinics if eligible, no one is above the law,” he told Cannabis Health.
“The law does need to be updated to reflect the real world evidence, but we have a long way to go to get there and I’m hoping the upcoming review will bring Guernsey and Jersey closer in line with other jurisdictions which continue to relax cannabis laws.”
While costs have reduced as the market grows, Martel said many patients could still not afford the costs of accessing a cannabis prescription through a private clinic.
He is now campaigning for what he describes as a “community licence” which would allow patients to benefit from the profits of the industry.
“As medical cannabis access is now opened up to cover a wide range of health conditions, a regulated market for all is needed now more than ever, so people have a choice – as they do with alcohol and tobacco,” he continued.
“The private clinics have been a godsend in the Channel Islands, however I deal with dozens of vulnerable patients weekly who simply cannot keep up with the prescription and follow up clinic costs.”
Cannabis Campaigners Decry Islanders’ Jail Term
Campaigners for cannabis law reforms have slammed the jailing of two islanders for growing and supplying the drug, which they said was for medical reasons.
Michael Clarke, who is 68, has been handed a four year prison term, while 35 year old mum-of-three Lucia Pagliarone got three years.
Peter Reynolds, from the UK Cannabis Law Reform group CLEAR has called the pair’s punishments ‘savage.. in a jurisdiction which is now exploiting the legal cannabis market’.
“There’s no doubt that a crime has been committed. But I think three years and fours in jail, for this crime, is completely disproportionate.”
“The law is wrong. The law has been an ass on cannabis for many years, for about 100 years, and it’s time we put the thing back in proportion. This is a plant that grows in your garden. There are many plants that grow in gardens that are far more dangerous and far more poisonous than cannabis.”
The Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency has issued its first licence in relation to CBD production.
It has been awarded to Celebrated, a company that makes a range of products using cannabis extracts, including oils and chocolate.
The company’s director, Tina Bolding, said she was “delighted” to have secured a licence for the business and the wider industry in the island.
The first licence to cultivate medical cannabis in Guernsey was issued in November.
The CBD licence allows Celebrated to continue its existing business but having been validated through the new system.
Cannabis remains a controlled drug within the Bailiwick and its production is prohibited unless carried out under licence.
CBD is a chemical in marijuana.
Ms Bolding said: “We had to work hard to demonstrate the high quality and professionalism that underpins our business, which is only right in a sector whose credibility comes in part from a robust regulatory framework.”
Last year Guernsey established a licensing framework with the UK Home Office via a Memorandum of Understanding.
Each application is reviewed by the BGCA and the UK Home Office, including site inspections.