UK: Jersey to debate adult-use cannabis decriminalisation  put forward by Reform Jersey politician, Tom Coles.

Business of Cannabis reports

Jersey to debate adult-use cannabis decriminalisation 

A proposal to decriminalise the possession and adult-use of cannabis on the Island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency, has been put forward by Reform Jersey politician, Tom Coles.

Jersey has rapidly become a haven for British cannabis entrepreneurs, and has raked in up to £60m in investment from medical cannabis businesses since 2016, according to the Channel Islands Economic Development Minister.

The island, which is viewed by many prominent UK medical cannabis operators as a vital ‘case study’ showcasing how potentially lucrative the industry could be if implemented on the mainland, could now decriminalise cannabis next year.

Mr Cole’s proposals would set a limit for the amount of cannabis for personal consumption a citizen can possess without fear of criminal penalty, designate legal consumption zones, and lay out driving restrictions.

The States Assembly is now set to debate the proposals at the end of June, and requests have been made that the legislation be brought forward by November 2025, Jersey Evening Post reported.

In February this year, Jersey lawmakers passed new legislation described as a ‘step towards’ the decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of cannabis and other Class B and C drugs.

In a vote on Wednesday, February 7, the Jersey States Assembly unanimously approved an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law that allows for those caught for repeat possession of small amounts of Class B and C drugs to avoid criminal prosecution.

Prior guidance stated that first-time offenders caught with up to 15g of cannabis should receive a written caution rather than being processed through the criminal justice system.

The new legislation saw these guidelines written into law for the first time and expanded to include repeat offenders, who will now be liable for a level one fine of £200.

Despite this move, Mr Coles suggested that it has created a ‘two-tier system’, which continues to see those caught with small amounts of cannabis being detained despite medical cannabis now being widely prescribed.

“An individual, with a prescription for medicinal cannabis can carry their cannabis on their person,” Mr Coles told the BBC.

“The police can stop and search the individual and remove their prescribed cannabis until such time as proof of their prescription is perhaps not the best use of police resources.”

“It is not the intention of this proposition to bind the hands of the government but to guide them in what is better for our society.”

The move comes after a backlash against the growth of medical cannabis prescriptions on the island last month.

According to the results of an audit into the small island’s medical cannabis industry, which examined monthly returns from pharmacists for a nine-month period in 2022, around 6.08% of the working-age population is now being prescribed medical cannabis.

This is significantly more than the 0.05% of the population currently being prescribed in England.

Of the 4,139 patients issued 18,990 prescriptions during the period, around 30 reportedly received prescriptions from two or more prescribers.

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