The forthcoming Crime (Prejudice and Public Disorder) Law includes an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law to introduce a level 1 fine (£200) for the repeat possession of Class B and C drugs that a Centenier may levy at Parish Hall Enquiry.
This proposal will maintain the current system with regard to Written Cautions for first and second offences but will allow Centeniers to issue fines for further repeat offences instead of referring the accused to Court.
In other words, repeat possession of less than 15g of cannabis would no longer result in a criminal record, which despite the issuance of fines is de jure decriminalisation (i.e. in law with sanctions).
To complement the amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law, a new Attorney General Directive is to be issued following implementation of the legislation.
As previously, the new Directive could provide a means for addressing related matters by way of updated guidance for the Island's Centeniers:
- The amount of cannabis defined in the 2022 Attorney General's Supplemental Direction and Guidance - Personal Amounts of Certain Controlled Drugs should be re-evaluated or at least be made discretionary to ensure that people are not criminalised unnecessarily.
- Cannabis oil remains a Class A drug with zero tolerance in the Centenier Written Caution Guidelines. This disparity should be addressed in the Directive so that a defined amount of cannabis oil can be dealt with at Parish Hall Enquiries in the same manner as cannabis flower or resin.
- Instances of cannabis cultivation are currently referred to the Magistrate's Court. The Directive should allow tolerance so at least minor offences can be dealt with at Parish Hall Enquiry.
Although it was anticipated that this legislation would be brought before the current Assembly, it has unfortunately been delayed until the end of 2022.
- The Government should present this legislation to the States Assembly as soon as possible in the next term with particular consideration given to the associated Attorney General Directive.