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Let’s get moving with cannabis prescription, says St Peter Deputy

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JERSEY must now push forward for medicinal cannabis to be prescribed to Islanders who need it, a States Deputy has said following the recent granting of licences for cultivation.

Deputy Rowland Huelin

In an interview with the JEP today, Deputy Rowland Huelin has spoken about a number of issues close to his heart, including population and assisted dying laws.

And the Deputy, who was elected in the parish of St Peter last year, added that following the recent decision to legalise the prescription of medicinal cannabis in Jersey, as well as growing the crop, the States should now work with doctors to encourage them to prescribe it.

‘From my work running around the parish I have met people who live their lives in enormous amounts of pain every day,’ he said.

‘I spoke about it during the cannabis debate and I am really, really keen to ensure that, while we have voted to approve this, we get through to the next stage of having medicinal cannabis prescribed in the Island for those that need it medically. Obviously, we need to follow the due process, but I am very supportive of it.’

Deputy Huelin said that the benefits of the drug, such as the alleviation of opiate addiction, had been proved around the world.

‘It’s in every single newspaper at the moment. You are seeing “carnage in our communities” described in some papers, which is down to opiates,’ he said.

‘People are getting addicted to opiates as painkillers, but we know there is a solution out there for it and it is called medicinal marijuana. It’s unproven, according to the British Medical Council, who we listen to, but there is evidence elsewhere in the world, like in Holland and Canada, that it is a better option.

‘We have to work with our medical profession in Jersey to, hopefully, accelerate its usage and support them with doing this.’

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The Deputy, who comes from a family with a farming tradition, said that he ‘absolutely’ supported the licensing of medicinal cannabis crops in Jersey, which he believes will be a huge boost for the agriculture industry.

‘We have got to diversify our economy and you just need to look at the money that is involved with medicinal cannabis,’ he said. ‘In the City of London there is a company called Canopy Growth, which grows and distributes cannabis at a recent valuation of $15.2 billion.

‘This is big ticket. The countryside is part of our history and culture. Growing potatoes is not as financially attractive as we would like, but it is fundamentally within our fabric, like Jersey cows.

‘The hidden benefits of the agriculture industry, including farmers maintaining the beauty of the countryside, needs to be maintained. So, anything we can do that would help our agricultural businesses, we must support.’

An order signed by Health Minister Richard Renouf made the prescription of certain medicinal cannabis products by Jersey health professionals legal from the start of this year.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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