Following The Hon. Neil Costa’s interview on GBC’s Viewpoint last Thursday Gib has lit up with speculation that the government might be set to consider proposals that would decriminalize recreational use of cannabis, prohibition of which is enforced by the RGP.
The Equality Rights Group and rehabilitation NGO, ‘Stay Clean’, have called for Gibraltar to stop punishing and penalising the use of cannabis.
And of course there’s growing support for the benefits of marijuana in treating health conditions.
But what does decriminalization look like, and is it right for Gib?
As ever Gib faces a particularly unique set of circumstances given our location, our close-knit community and of course the challenges our neighbours send us from Madrid… but that doesn’t rule out comparisons with another community that once suggested there might be another way.
“…But interestingly the only European country that has decriminalized drugs – Portugal – reported after decriminalization less use of drugs…”
The Hon. Neil Costa on GBC’s Viewpoint
In 1999 Portugal had a drug problem. In fact, almost 1% of the country’s total population were addicted to heroin. In 2001 the government decided that treating possession and consumption of drugs as a crime just wasn’t working. They decriminalized both and re-focused resources on helping drug addicts. The result? Drug-induced deaths plummeted.
While there’s no broad public appeal for legalizing the hard stuff in Gibraltar, (well at least not for now), is there anything we can learn from Portugal’s story when we look at the case for cannabis?
See above a video produced by The Economist in 2015 looking the Portugal model.
DO YOU THINK POSSESSION AND CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS SHOULD BE LEGAL OR ILLEGAL?