NI: Green leader in call for cannabis decriminalisation
Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, has become the first MLA to call for the decriminalisation of cannabis, The Irish News reports.
At a policy conference in Belfast’s Clayton Hotel on Saturday, party members voted to back the decriminalisation and eventual regulation of the drug on harm reduction grounds.
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, cannabis is a class B controlled substance in the UK, alongside amphetamines and ketamine.
Drugs law remained reserved to Westminster after the devolution of justice and policing to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2010.
Mr Agnew said: “People often talk about cannabis being a gateway drug but it’s not a gateway to harder drugs, it’s a gateway to criminality.
“The biggest problem is that for many people who are law abiding it’s their first criminal act and their first link to criminal gangs.”
He also said the supply of cannabis should be “taken out of the hands of paramilitaries”.