Election 2015

Election 2015: Cannabis reform party launches manifesto

Paul Birch, leader of Cista
Image caption Party leader Paul Birch launches the party's manifesto at a Belfast event

The Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol party has launched its manifesto, calling for a review of UK drugs policy.

Cista has 32 candidates and describes itself as the first pro-drug reform political party.

The manifesto includes a commitment to an economic evaluation of a legally regulated cannabis market.

The party says it will remain a single issue party, focused on creating a legal drugs market.

Paul Birch, the leader of Cista, who is also a co-founder of social network Bebo, said that in a regulated market, controls can be implemented.

"We've had a regulated alcohol market in the UK for hundreds of years. We need a regulated cannabis market for people's health and wellbeing," he said.

The party says that neither Labour nor the Conservatives address the issue of drugs reform and that, although the Lib Dems and Green Party make promises on drugs reform, there is no chance that the either party "will win this election or make drugs reform a 'red line' issue in any coalition — or other partnership — agreements with the Conservatives or Labour".

Cista's manifesto commitments include campaigning for a Royal Commission to undertake a fundamental review of all UK drugs policy, which would establish recommendations to combat "the harm caused by drugs in an increasingly globalised world".

It also promises to convene a Global Medicinal Cannabis Summit in London in 2015, to garner research relating to cannabis from politicians, scientists, physicians, NGOs and other representatives.

The party wants to evaluate the effectiveness of the cannabis legalisation policies in Spain, Portugal, United States and Uruguay.

And it wants to conduct a review of the cost-benefit economic evaluation of potential legally regulated UK cannabis market.

The party has 1,500 members and says it intends to contest all future Scottish Parliament, London, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assembly elections and targeted local authority elections.

More on this story