What further reforms are needed?
Cannabis should be classified uniformly.
Cannabis oil (as a cannabinol/cannabinol derivative) remains a Class A drug with zero tolerance in the 2022 Attorney General's Supplemental Direction and Guidance - Personal Amounts of Certain Controlled Drugs.
Notably, only Jersey, Guernsey and Gibraltar retain the definition of cannabinol and cannabinol derivatives as being Class A drugs - the UK having reclassified them to Class B in 2008.
This classification likely explains the reason for legislation in both Jersey and Guernsey to specifically allow THC in CBD oils at a ratio of 100:3 of CBD:THC.
- Consideration should be given to reclassifying cannabinol and cannabinol derivatives inline with other cannabis classification, changing it from Class A to Class B.
Scheduling should recognise medicinal value.
Research into cannabis is currently stifled by it's Schedule 1 status, reserved for drugs deemed to have little or no therapeutic use.
In December 2020, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in recognition of it's therapeutic value.
- Consideration should be given to rescheduling cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs (General Provisions) (Jersey) Order 2009 in recognition of the medicinal benefits of this plant.
Smoking medicinal cannabis should not be illegal.
Given that possession of less than 15g of cannabis is to be decriminalised, the issue of the smoking of medicinal cannabis should no longer be considered a criminal act.
As with any other medication, prescription guidance should suffice to define appropriate use. Specific legislation to deter undesirable consumption practices is neither necessary nor proportionate.
- The respective article in the 2009 Misuse of Drugs (General Provisions) Order prohibiting the smoking of medicinal cannabis should be removed forthwith.
Personal cultivation should be tolerated.
The issue of cultivation has been recognised in Luxembourg's forthcoming cannabis legislation, which aims to separate users from the black market:
"We want to start by allowing people to grow it at home. The idea is that a consumer is not in an illegal situation if he consumes cannabis and that we don’t support the whole illegal chain from production to transportation to selling where there is a lot of misery attached. We want to do everything we can to get more and more away from the illegal black market."
Sam Tanson, Justice Minister,
Luxembourg first in Europe to legalise growing and using cannabis, October 2021.
The personal cultivation of cannabis should be tolerated inline with the decriminalisation of possession so that users may be self-sufficient and thus no longer be dependent on the black market.
- Cannabis cultivation for personal use should be considered a form of possession with regard to the proposed Misuse of Drugs Law amendment.
Is drug sentencing proportionate?
There has been much consternation amongst the populace on social media in recent times of the disparity in sentencing between convictions relating to drugs and those of sexual offences in particular.
There are currently no guidelines relating to drug offences at the Magistrate's Court, while the Royal Court relies on case precedent rather than specific sentencing guidelines.
- Consideration should be given to a review of sentencing guidelines to better reflect the opinion of the people.
Is the policing of cannabis in the public interest?
Ultimately, we hope that in future the Conduct of Parish Hall Enquiries be that
"in any case where the Centenier is satisfied that the public interest does not lie in the commencement of criminal proceedings... to take no further action."
- The policing of cannabis in the Island should be de-prioritised in conjunction with Centeniers taking no further action at Parish Hall Enquiry on the basis that such cases are not in the public interest.