The Government is considering introducing a ‘Cancard’ to help medicinal cannabis users prove their legitimacy if stopped by the police.
The States Assembly voted in November 2018 to allow GPs to prescribe medicinal cannabis. A year later, its cultivation was also approved.
Since then, however, Police and Customs officers have sometimes struggled to distinguish between bona fide users who have a prescription and those who have not.
Those using medicinal cannabis illegally may have obtained the drug from a secondary market which has emerged since its legalisation.
An ‘advisory council’ of senior officers, led by Chief Probation Officer Mike Cutland, is now trying to fill the legal void, and following some parts of the UK in introducing a ‘Cancard’ form of identification is being considered.
Speaking to a Scrutiny Panel this week, Chief Police Officer Robin Smith, who is a member of the council, said: “Above all, the States of Jersey Police is supportive of people in need of medicinal cannabis but I have previously raised the issue of people using drugs illicitly, and, of course, cannabis is still an illicit drug, and we have had a number of seizures in recent weeks.
“Some people are very entrepreneurial and will seek to deal with medicinal cannabis in an illicit way.”
Chief Police Officer Robin Smith: "The force is supportive of people in need of medicinal cannabis."
Mr Smith added that the council was still looking at how the island could better ensure that those people who are legally in possession of medicinal cannabis are protected by the law.
“In the UK, they have adopted in some places something called a Cancard, which is under consideration by the advisory council. We still have a gap where police officers could be in an awkward position when asked to deploy to a certain case and not being too sure.
“And my job, along with this group, is to make sure that everyone knows what is what.”
Mr Smith added that, currently, officers were asking to see the prescription of a user and would take a photo of it, but he conceded this was “far from a failsafe”.
The Cancard scheme in the UK, which is backed several groups including the Police Foundation think tank, the Green Party and the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, allows users to prove their legitimacy if stopped by the police or another agency.
Officers across England and Wales have been given standardised guidance on how to proceed when presented with a Cancard.
The advisory council also hopes to invite Professor Mike Barnes, a consultant neurologist and leading cannabis physician, to the island to discuss best practice with those professionals involved with medicinal cannabis.
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