Omagh man Barry Brown has confirmed that he will contest the West Tyrone seat in the May Westminster election for cannabis reform party CISTA.
He will be one of three candidates that CISTA will field in the North, along with Andrew Magorrian (South Down) and Glenn Donnelly (North Down).
The former SDLP member becomes the second Omagh man to stand for Parliament for the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol (CISTA) party. Last month Shane O’Donnell confirmed his candidacy for the north London constituency of Holborn and St Pancras.
Now based in London, O’Donnell is a former Conservative Party member who will run against Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and high profile Labour candidate Keir Starmar.
A former assistant to West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne, Barry Brown campaigned for the SDLP in the 2010 General Election. In 2011 he became a candidate himself for the SDLP, standing in the Omagh Town district electoral area for the 2011 local government elections alongside local SDLP councillor and GP Dr Josephine Deehan, winning 205 first preference votes. He later left the party.
Mr Brown’s inclusion on the CISTA ticket brings to seven the number of candidates on the West Tyrone ballot for May 7, the highest since the constituency was formed in 1997.
CISTA’s manifesto focuses upon the legalisation and regulation of cannabis within the UK.
It cites the examples of successful models in the United States, such as Colorado, where medicinal use of cannabis has been legalized.
By contesting three separate constituencies, CISTA are now eligible to broadcast one party election broadcast on the BBC.