Victoria College student Henry Devenport introduced his school’s proposition at Tuesday’s sitting, saying it was a ‘successful and pragmatic solution to a persistent problem’ and would provide a boost to the local economy.
The proposal was defeated 17 votes to 16 by members of the Youth Assembly, with five abstentions.
The war on drugs had been an ‘unmitigated disaster’ for public health and police logistics, the proposition stated, adding that it created a cycle of violence around drug consumption that only existed due to the criminalisation of narcotic use, and prevented proper regulation of quality and quantity of such substances.
The proposition asked the government to legalise all drugs, including Class-A narcotics. Under the proposals, individuals would have needed to show identification to purchase them and would only be able to buy a quantity that a doctor said they could use safely.
The proposition stated: ‘Not only will this greatly improve public health, but it will provide the government with revenue and grant greater freedom to its citizens.’
Mr Devenport said the proposition was ‘not as radical as many assume’. A recent government report found that 1.4% of Jersey’s population were problem drug users, he said, adding that while other jurisdictions, such as Portugal and the Netherlands, had seen a decline in drug use since decriminalisation, drug use in Jersey had remained ‘stagnant’.
‘Drug users are afraid to search for help for fear of being arrested for their habit,’ Mr Devenport told the Youth Assembly.
Beaulieu student Bridget Le Brocq opposed the proposition. She said: ‘Many people have suffered from the effects of their drinks being spiked in the club.’
Ms Le Brocq added that approving the move would increase the number of people being sexually assaulted or raped as a result of having their drinks spiked.
Hautlieu student Noah Jervis said there would be ‘blood on the government’s hands’ if the proposition was passed. He said the Island would not be able to ensure safe and sanitary conditions for drug users.
However, Darius Kayley, from Victoria College, said: ‘Do you want to help these people or not?’
The proposition would ‘eliminate the black market’, he added.
At the same sitting a proposition to make period products freely available for all, introduced by Jersey College for Girls student Ruby Filleul, passed by 23 votes to seven, with eight abstentions.
Meanwhile, Mr Jervis proposed financial support to help Islanders get on the property ladder in Jersey and a cap on house prices. His proposal failed after a tied vote of 12 apiece, with five abstentions.
Claire Le Fondré, from Beaulieu, asked the Assembly to support a proposal that all women in Jersey should be paid 18.3% more than male colleagues doing the same job ‘to compensate for the gender pay gap which had historically favoured men and still exists in Jersey today’. The move was only just defeated by 12 votes to ten.
Another proposition, introduced by Kenan Bryan, of De La Salle, proposed scrapping GCSEs and replacing them with ‘a more well-rounded academic and vocational educational system that provides fairer opportunities for all’.
The proposal was eventually defeated, with 26 students voting against, ten for and two abstentions.