BELFAST Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl has called for the legalisation of cannabis.
In an interview in today’s Sunday Independent the Zimbabwe-born, agnostic, Alliance councillor says that she has never taken drugs herself but her mother was a “hippy” and used to tell her in “graphic detail about a really bad acid trip”.
Calling for cannabis to be made legal, she also wants to see the introduction of “safe injecting spaces” in Belfast.
She says: “There’s something about having like a reprobate mother that makes you incredibly square.
“I think it (cannabis) should be legalised. I don’t think criminalising that deals with the issues. We’re looking at the legalities around it. It’s very open, the drug dealing is now on the streets.
“If you have a space where there are brilliant relationships with people and their clients and there was a safe space where they could go and you have these overdoses on the streets and people going into cafes, there’s just an element of humanity.”
The 33-year-old, who is Alliance’s migrant spokeswoman, will stand for Stormont in South Belfast in May on a ticket that will aim to support refugees, asylum seekers and those suffering from housing inequality and poverty.
“I am sick of the same pictures of politicians handing out food parcels and selfies at food banks. We need a properly resourced anti-poverty strategy and for it not to be tokenism,” she adds.
Homelessness in the city is also an issue close to her heart.
“I’ve been outside on the streets here and I’ve spoken to them, I heard issues of drug addiction and homelessness,” she explains, calling for more support for those with addiction problems.
“There is a six months waiting list. If you inject heroin, you can get in rehab. But if you smoke it you can’t. If you’re actively using, then you can get into a rehab programme. But if you’re trying to get clean, which people who will go to seek support are trying to do, you can’t get on it.”
She said it has become the norm now for her to receive “creepy messages” from men on Facebook and Twitter, including “incessant” video and calling late at night and in some cases inappropriate photographs. “I haven’t had any anatomy ones for a long time, but I did when I first started on the council,” she revealed.