Deputy Andrew Taylor is seeking to clarify his stance on cannabis legislation, arguing that his views on the law haven’t changed, but his understanding of how complicated it would be to change the law has.
Deputies Taylor and David Mahoney have submitted an amendment to the Government Work Plan which, if successful, would remove the option of ordering the Committee for Health & Social Care to prioritise a review into the legal status of cannabis.
The amendment includes a report compiled by officers from both HSC and the Committee for Home Affairs, highlighting considerations against legalisation.
The pair have faced criticism from the public and some political colleagues, who argue that the stance goes against what the politicians said during their campaigns for election in 2020.
Despite this, Deputy Taylor says his views on the legal status of cannabis haven’t changed, but he’s unconvinced that Guernsey has the resources available to be able to change the law.
“My views [on cannabis] remain much the same, where I’ve changed my mind is that I don’t believe a regulated industry will be feasible unless the UK (or another close neighbour) does the leg work in creating the framework,” said Deputy Taylor.
“Prior to election I was openly supportive of reviewing legislation relative to cannabis and, if asked specifically, quite open that I don’t object to people using cannabis.”
Pictured: Deputy Taylor said his view “in a nutshell” was that smoking a bit of cannabis at home is no different to “my Dad having a G&T at home if he fancies one”.
Deputy Taylor said changing the legal status could be resource heavy and told Express that it’s not simply a case of copying and pasting “the alcohol legislation”.
“For nearly a year, I have been on of the political members on the non-punitive approach to possession of small quantities of drugs research group,” he said, referring to a cross committee group comprised of HSC and the Committee for Home Affairs.
“The group had expert input from both health care professionals and law enforcement. Looking at various different jurisdictions and their approaches with the overall conclusion being that we can already address the main community concerns within our existing legislation, but improved communication between all involved professionals and interested parties is needed.”
Pictured: Deputy Taylor said, prior to becoming a deputy, he misunderstood the complexities involved in legalising cannabis.
Deputy Taylor told Express that his amendment doesn’t stifle debate but focus it.
“This amendment actually provides a focused debated instead of the discussion being lost in four days of debate, ranging from biodiversity officers to inspections of the finance industry.
“A review has been done, involving a community survey to which only 1,500 people responded – so I don’t believe there is a huge demand to redo this work.
“We have to prioritise workstreams and this, sadly, doesn’t make the cut for me.”
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