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Guernsey's former Chief Minister backs cannabis legalisation

Guernsey's former Chief Minister backs cannabis legalisation

Friday 11 June 2021

Guernsey's former Chief Minister backs cannabis legalisation

Guernsey’s former Chief Minister has come out in support of legalising cannabis in a documentary on the legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis in the island.

Deputy Gavin St Pier said the legislation of cannabis should primarily be treated as a healthcare issue.

“My views on this topic have been settled for quite a few years,” said Deputy St Pier in 'The Cannabis Conundrum', which was directed by Karl Dorfner and included interviews with others who support decriminalisation or legalisation.

“I’ve always regarded it as being a health issue and an issue about quality control and regulation, in exactly the same way as the community has taken control of tobacco and alcohol.”


Pictured: “I think regulation and taxation is the right way to go,” said Deputy St Pier.

In the documentary, Deputy St Pier described the difficulty Guernsey would have in taking the first step in legalising a substance that is still widely prohibited across the globe.

“The policy question is easier than some of the practical issues that need to be addressed," he said. 

“It’s a minefield of international regulation and commitments which have been entered into over many decades by the international community, seeking to enforce the prohibition of a whole range of illicit drugs."

Deputy St Pier used the example of anti-money laundering regulations, where banking institutions need to report the handling of any proceeds of crime. If cannabis is legalised by the Bailiwick but not in mainland Europe, then handling proceeds of cannabis cultivation in Guernsey would over-step international commitments and laws.

“Canada and the United States are currently dealing with these issues,” he said. “How do you deal with the proceeds of the industry?”


Pictured: Money flowing through island borders falls under numerous international rules and regulations, making any movement of cannabis industry proceeds illegal.

“Guernsey isn’t an ‘island’ on this issue,” said Deputy St Pier. “Until there is broader recognition globally there will definitely be real practical consequences.”

In Jersey, the idea of supplying medicinal cannabis from a 'not-for-profit' clinic has been gaining ground recently.

Last weekend, 15-year-old Billy Caldwell and mum Charlotte, who both played a pivotal role in changing UK medicinal cannabis laws, visited the island and met with Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham.

Billy has both severe drug resistant refractory epilepsy and autism - over the past five years, medical cannabis has been the key drug that has helped Billy control his life-threatening seizures, which he has been suffering from since he was four months old.

Billy Caldwell and mum

Pictured: Billy Caldwell and mum Charlotte, who were in Jersey last weekend.

As part of their 'I Am Billy' campaign, Billy and his mum want to see not-for-profit clinics set up where clinical research can be carried out. They also want financial assistance for those most in need of medicinal cannabis products.

Speaking to Express about why the pair chose Jersey as a pitstop on their journey, Charlotte explained she was aware of around 750 patients between Jersey and Guernsey who currently acquire prescription cannabis from private clinics, many of whom she has spoken to and knows desperately need support in paying for their prescription.

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Posted by Martin J on
I agree with legalisation BUT firm & regular control over medicinal use?

It does seem a bit mad that when you have a general anaesthetic you are given a class A drug but a GP cannot prescribe a class B?
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