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Puff break: Pro-cannabis party fined £23K for stereotypical stoner behavior

Puff break: Pro-cannabis party fined £23K for stereotypical stoner behavior
A British political party campaigning for the legalization of cannabis has been fined tens of thousands of pounds by an elections watchdog for missing a deadline to report on donations it received.

The Electoral Commission did not look kindly on the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol (Cista) party’s botched attempt to file its accounts on time and issued the group a £23,000 fine.

The same money could have bought the party members almost 15,000 joints or more than 75,000 packets of Rizla.

“We had significant concerns about this party’s willingness to comply with the rules and the loss of transparency as a result of its unprecedented history of non-compliance,” the Commission said, adding “the fines issued in this case reflect the serious impact that this can have on voter confidence.”

This isn’t the first time penalties have been imposed on the party – Cista has had to cough-up £18,000 in combined fines throughout 2015-2016.

Cista was founded before the 2015 general election and ran 32 candidates across Britain. However, the party lost all its participatory deposits when it was only able to gather a total of 8,400 votes.

Its main sponsor is Paul Birch, who co-founded the social network Bebo. He not only chairs the party, but has also contributed £100,000 in donations.

The Electoral Commission requires parties to abide by rules on donations and spending and can even prevent groups from running if their books are not in order.