Liberal Vannin Party chairman Paul Weatherall has called for a public consultation on recreational cannabis after September’s General Election.
The party said that around the world, attitudes are changing towards the “War Against Drugs”, with many jurisdictions either legalising cannabis for recreational use or decriminalising it. Some, like Portugal, have decided to treat the use of drugs as a medical issue, rather than a criminal one.
In December, Tynwald unanimously supported a motion brought by Liberal Vannin Leader Lawrie Hooper which called for a review of the way the Isle of Man tackles the harm caused by illegal drugs, which the Minister for Justice is due to report on by June 2021.
Mr Weatherall said: ‘In the light of this unanimous support in Tynwald Liberal Vannin also looks forward to the next Programme for Government following the House of Keys elections in September including a complete review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. In particular, we call for a formal public consultation on the recreational use of cannabis early in the next government.
Mr Weatherhall has welcomed the move by Tynwald to allow for farmers on the island to grow cannabis, but says Tynwald continues to drag its heels over the personal use of cannabis on the island.
However, it does not allow for the sale of these products on the Isle of Man, meaning that residents here are still unable to benefit from access to medicinal cannabis.
Mr Weatherhall pointed out that a consultation in March 2019 showed overwhelming public support for allowing medicinal cannabis to be prescribed on island and said the party is calling on the Minister for Health and Social Care to bring forward legislation to make medicinal cannabis legally available on prescription forthwith.
DHSC Minister David Ashford has this week told Gef: ‘The simple fact is at the moment the clinicians are not on board with medicinal cannabis being prescribed particularly at GP level that means even if we passed law saying it could be prescribed we wouldn’t have the ability to do so as those who could prescribe would still refuse to do so. So we have been working around education and getting clinicians on board as without them being willing to prescribe we can have whatever prescribing regime we like in law but it’s pointless unless you have the professionals willing to prescribe.’
Mr Weatherall added: ‘As a party we welcome the move towards creating a vibrant new economic sector on the Isle of Man, but now we have an approved regulatory regime for commercial cultivation and export of medicinal cannabis it is illogical to continue denying access to these medicinal products to Island residents and government needs to address this disparity as soon as possible.’