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GSD calls out Together Gibraltar over ‘misleading’ claims in drugs debate

Embargoed to 1800 Monday January 14 File photo dated 29/10/03 of a cannabis joint. Even a small amount of cannabis can alter brain structure in children, research suggests. Scientists found that taking the drug just once or twice by the age of 14 led to greater "grey matter" volume in key brain areas linked to emotion and memory. Grey matter mostly consists of nerve cells, while "white matter" is made up of nerve fibres. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 14, 2019. See PA story HEALTH Cannabis. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

The GSD has called on Together Gibraltar to remove a “misleading image” it attached to a press statement which lists 25 countries it claimed had decriminalised drug use.

GSD MP Lawrence Llamas explained that at first glance of that image and without further investigation, it gives the impression that all of the countries listed had decriminalised all drugs.

“This is most definitely not the case,” Mr Llamas said.

“According to Together Gibraltar’s misleading image, Spain has decriminalised drug use. In Spain, consumption or minor personal possession in public places is deemed a serious order offence, punishable by administrative sanctions of up to 30,000 Euros.”

“For Together Gibraltar to suggest that Spain has decriminalised drug use is misleading to say the least,” he added.

This comes after Together Gibraltar moved to defend the drug policy it outlined earlier this week in the face of criticism from the Gibraltar Government.

The GSD said that a party which claims to be ready to govern Gibraltar should fact check the information they put into the public domain and not simply copy and paste information from any website, “especially on such a serious and sensitive issue like drugs”.

“It is yet another occasion where information provided to Together Gibraltar is published by them straight away, without investigating, purely down to sensationalist headline grabbing opportunities,” the party said.

Additionally, Mr Llamas said: “We in the GSD feel that politicians have a duty to publish accurate information and as such call on Together Gibraltar to remove their misleading image from the public domain and apologise to the community for publishing it.”

“Our community expects more from a party that claims to be serious about governing Gibraltar. Drugs are proven to be extremely harmful, addictive and detrimental to the quality of life of those who consume them and their families.”

“Together Gibraltar is wrong to experiment by decriminalising certain substances found in small amounts for personal use.”

“Their proposal for Gibraltar lacks any credibility when they quote models used in Portugal (all drugs) and Israel (Cannabis).”

“Together Gibraltar’s is dangerously creating confusion, and more importantly a non-consequential expectation on drug misuse."

“Their widely circulated image titled “Countries which have decriminalised drug use” lists 25 countries what have supposedly decriminalised drugs.”

“In Estonia for example, persons can be deprived of their liberty in a police arrest house for up to 30 days whilst being liable to fines of up to 800 Euros.”

“The same can be said for several other countries included in Together Gibraltar’s misleading image.”

“But even so, it is important when looking at worldwide policies to look behind the rationale for their policies.”

“The fact is that countries such as Portugal and Switzerland, have decriminalised drug use as a direct result of other intrinsically linked factors such as high consumption of heroin = high volume of HIV cases.”

“Thankfully, Gibraltar does not share those problems which is why the GSD is proposing legislative reform whereby possession of small amounts considered for personal use is met with support, care and education, including mandatory courses, community service and support group meeting attendances, however, leaving a criminal legislative fallback position for those who do not wish to comply with the alternative pathways.”

CORRECTION: An article published in the Chronicle on May 14 headlined “Govt blasts Together Gibraltar’s ‘dangerous drugs experiment’” suggested as a factual statement that the party had advocated decriminalising “all” drugs. In fact, this was a statement made by the Gibraltar Government and should have been in quotation marks. Together Gibraltar had suggested decriminalising small quantities of “some” drugs as a means of redirecting resources into less punitive forms of tackling the drug problem.

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