End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey
for Reform.


ECPJ Lobbying Update #1.

What's been happening since the elections?

It's been a while since our last blog post at the beginning of July, in which we wrapped up our election campaign. Since then, we've been biding our time somewhat as the new Government establishes itself and States Members become accustomed to their new roles.

End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey has held several meetings over the summer with States Members who we didn't get a chance to meet during the elections in order to present our blueprint for cannabis reform.

In July, we met with Deputy Kirsten Morel, the new Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture. This month, we have held separate meetings with Deputy Hilary Jeune in her role as Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Alex Curtis (Assistant Minister for Economic Development and Assistant Chief Minister) and Reform Jersey – attended by Deputy Carina Alves, Deputy Tom Coles and Deputy Lyndsay Feltham.

We've had some nice press coverage over the last few weeks. Our campaign was featured in an article by The Leaf Desk and, following news that the Isle of Man will be undertaking a review of the harms caused by illicit drugs, we contributed an article to Volteface on the potential for collaboration between the Crown Dependencies on the development of cannabis policy. Members of the ECPJ team also recently featured in a documentary on medicinal cannabis to be released next year.

It's great to see the latest edition of Business Brief feature the cannabis industry in the Channel Islands. We hope to see more such coverage in future to help inform the public about the industry as it continues to develop in the Island.

What's next for End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey?

Principally, we are currently awaiting the publication of the Government Programme in October in order to understand the direction of our new Government and how it relates to our recommendation themes of Patient Access, Cannabis Industry, Substance Use Strategy, Decriminalisation and Towards Regulation.

The absence of an active substance use strategy since the conclusion of the Building a Safer Society Strategy at the end of 2019 has been a major concern of the ECPJ since the outset of our group.

Two years ago, we presented a report to the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel on the Substance Misuse Strategy, in which we highlighted how the subject of substance use has been neglected by Government since 2016.

End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey is therefore delighted by the announcement yesterday that Public Health are to provide harm reduction messaging and we welcome the adoption of a modern, progressive approach to substance use by the new Government.

(Funding for the development of the strategy was re-allocated from Health & Community Services to the Strategic Policy, Planning & Performance Department in April; Public Health is a sub-department of SPPP.)

We also note the delegation of responsibility for Mental Health to Deputy Rose Binet, Assistant Minister for Health and Social Services. While substance use is currently the remit of Home Affairs, we hope that the Assistant Minister will play an active role in the development of the new strategy.

ECPJ looks forward to engaging with Public Health and Deputy Binet on the subject of substance use in due course.

In relation to Patient Access, there is currently an e-petition calling on Government to provide funding for patients that need access to medicinal cannabis medication.

With the rising cost of living, access to medicinal cannabis is becoming increasingly unaffordable for those patients who benefit from this medication.

If it is not (yet) feasible for medicinal cannabis to be provided from the Hospital Formulary, it may be possible to include accommodations for the funding of medicinal cannabis for patients in greatest need in the upcoming Government Plan.

A recent FOI request has revealed that "the States of Jersey Police does not currently have a policy in place around educating officers and employees on the legality of medicinal cannabis."

We anticipate that States Members will be appointed to the Jersey Police Authority at the next sitting of the States Assembly, following which we shall engage with them on implementing policy for interacting with medicinal cannabis patients.

The Minister for Home Affairs has provided a response to an enquiry of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel on her priorities for the next six months.

The much delayed Draft Crime (Prejudice and Public Disorder) (Jersey) Law, which includes an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law that essentially decriminalises Class B & C drugs, is (unfortunately) not anticipated to be "ready for lodging within the next six months".

The new Economic & International Affairs Scrutiny Panel are following up on the previous Panel's review on the Regulations for the licensing, production and export of Medicinal Cannabis in Jersey.

The Minister provided an update yesterday stating that he anticipates revised timelines for the report's recommendations "can be provided in Q4 this year".

We have recently discovered that two different Ministerial Responses to the report were submitted by the previous Minister for Economic Development.

The first response, dated the , accepts 9 of the report's 24 recommendations and partially accepts 2 others.

The second response is dated the and only accepts 4 of the recommendations.

ECPJ has reached out to the States Greffe and the members of the former EIA Scrutiny Panel to clarify which version takes precedence.

End Cannabis Prohibition Jersey continues to lobby States Members on cannabis reform and the implementation of our recommendations.

It's still early days for the new States Assembly but we remain hopeful that progress will be made to address the majority of our concerns.

We'll keep you updated on our lobbying efforts here on our blog as the Government Programme develops.

À bétôt et à la préchaine,
The ECPJ Team.