Guernsey may not be the first place that comes to mind when someone thinks about cannabis policy, however, the self-governing British Crown dependency is home to some ardent cannabis supporters. Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands in the English Channel near the French Coast.
Lawmakers in Guernsey agreed in 2022 to explore the idea of adult-use cannabis reform. Unfortunately, all laws passed by Guernsey’s government must also be approved by the United Kingdom’s Privy Council – a concept known as ‘royal assent.’ It appears that such approval is unlikely, at least at this time. Per excerpts from BBC:
Policy & Resources Committee member Deputy Bob Murray said several departments were examining the issue.
But he added any law was not likely to get UK royal assent “at the moment”.
He said: “One of the hurdles we’ve encountered as we have looked more deeply in cannabis legalisation is getting royal assent in the UK [passed by the King’s Privy Council, which, at the moment, appears very unlikely.”
There is recent precedent regarding cannabis policy, royal assent, and its use to prevent adult-use cannabis legalization pursuits. Bermuda, which is also a British Crown dependency and subject to the royal assent provision, was on a path to making significant cannabis policy reforms last year.
However, all of the progress hit a dead end when the Governor of Bermuda, who is appointed by the United Kingdom, effectively vetoed a cannabis reform measure previously passed by Bermuda lawmakers by refraining from granting royal assent. As with Bermuda, Guernsey should be able to set its own cannabis policies.