The first-ever party political broadcast by a party campaigning solely for reform of Britain’s drug laws will be shown in Northern Ireland on Thursday night.
The Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol party (Cista) has registered 32 candidates for the general election, including four in Northern Ireland, enough to qualify it for a five-minute slot on television there.
The four-and-a-half minute film airs on UTV and focuses on the medicinal qualities of cannabis, which patients say prevents seizures, relieves nausea and eases pain.
“These are qualities which can enhance my daily life and counter some of the effects of the pharmaceuticals which I am prescribed,” says Glenn Donnelly, a Cista candidate and one of the voices in the broadcast.
Cista’s chair, Paul Birch, who made millions from the sale of the social network Bebo and who has invested £100,000 in the party, said the party had decided to focus on the medical uses of cannabis because “we felt like it was the easiest thing to get through”.