Petition Legalize, Decriminalize and regulate Cannabis for Islanders

There are many Islanders suffering from health issues that Cannabis has been PROVEN to treat, there is a serious mental health issue and the majority of people who experience these issues use Cannabis to help, it will increase Islander's quality of life and turn a profit for the Island's economy.

More details

As somebody who has lived with several mental health issues for over two decades I use Cannabis to treat my disorders, without it I would be on numerous DANGEROUS medications, I have managed to go without prescription medication because I use Cannabis. The majority of our Islanders use Cannabis daily, the recent raids due to 'Operation Shark' have caused A LOT of suffering and mentally unstable people are now resorting to alcohol, harder drugs and abusing prescription medication. This is not right.

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2,992 signatures

5,000

Ministers responded

This response was given on 1 May 2020

The Minister, having taken into consideration factors including those listed in full below and the position of the World Health Organisation, rejects the petition.

• The Minister has legalised the use of medicinal cannabis when prescribed by a medical practitioner.

• Where cannabis is taken, other than as prescribed, that is a criminal offence.

• There is no current intention to decriminalise cannabis generally, and it will continue to be regulated under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978.

• It is not accepted that the majority of islanders use cannabis on a daily basis.

• The 2019 UN World Drug Reports states that treatment demand for cannabis use disorders is increasing. All regions, except Africa, have seen an increasing proportion of people entering treatment for cannabis use disorders as the primary drug of concern (UN. 2019, p20) . The report also states that the scientific literature suggests that people using cannabis who progress to daily use have a higher probability of developing cannabis use disorders, while regular and heavy use of cannabis with a high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content has been identified as a risk factor for acute and chronic adverse health outcomes, including mental health problems and cannabis use disorders (UN.2019, p20) .

• The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) do not recommend the use of cannabinoids for chronic pain.

• Cannabis use by adolescents has been linked to an increased prevalence of mental illness, including depression, anxiety and psychosis; impaired neurological development and cognitive decline; and diminished school performance and lifetime achievement . Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in young people . Early cannabis use (<15 years) brings greater risk for schizophrenia than use before the age of 18 years .

• Cannabis use may impact upon the fertility of both women and men .

2 THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION POSITION

2.1 Acute health effects of cannabis use
The acute effects of cannabis use has been recognized for many years, and recent studies have confirmed and extended earlier findings. These may be summarized as follows:

• Cannabis impairs cognitive development (capabilities of learning), including associative processes; free recall of previously learned items is often impaired when cannabis is used both during learning and recall periods;

• Cannabis impairs psychomotor performance in a wide variety of tasks, such as motor coordination, divided attention, and operative tasks of many types; human performance on complex machinery can be impaired for as long as 24 hours after smoking as little as 20 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis; there is an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents among persons who drive when intoxicated by cannabis.

2.2 Chronic health effects of cannabis use

• selective impairment of cognitive functioning which include the organization and integration of complex information involving various mechanisms of attention and memory processes;

• prolonged use may lead to greater impairment, which may not recover with cessation of use, and which could affect daily life functions;

• development of a cannabis dependence syndrome characterized by a loss of control over cannabis use is likely in chronic users;

• cannabis use can exacerbate schizophrenia in affected individuals;

• epithelial injury of the trachea and major bronchi is caused by long-term cannabis smoking;

• airway injury, lung inflammation, and impaired pulmonary defence against infection from persistent cannabis consumption over prolonged periods;

• heavy cannabis consumption is associated with a higher prevalence of symptoms of chronic bronchitis and a higher incidence of acute bronchitis than in the non-smoking cohort;

• cannabis used during pregnancy is associated with impairment in foetal development leading to a reduction in birth weight;

• cannabis use during pregnancy may lead to postnatal risk of rare forms of cancer although more research is needed in this area.

3 Conclusion

The Minister, having taken into consideration factors including those listed above and the position of the World Health Organisation rejects the petition.

4 HELP AVAILABLE

For those who are currently struggling with drug dependency we would encourage them to contact the Alcohol and Drugs Service (ADS) to access support around personal use of any substance and to discuss what other options may be available. The focus of the ADS is to ensure that any drugs taken do the minimum amount of harm, whilst enabling service users to understand and feel supported on a road to recovery. The ADS is also happy to speak to anyone who has a concern about a relative or a friend. The ADS provides a confidential service. To contact the ADS directly please email or telephone +44 (0) 1534 445000.

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