Following in the footsteps of Uruguay, in 2018 Canada made history by becoming the second country in the world to legalise cannabis for recreational use. Campaigners in the UK have urged the country to adopt the same as Canada, however, the issue with legalisation remains a controversial subject politically.
The situation currently
In 1928, under the dangerous drugs act of 1920, cannabis became illegal in the UK. Despite been illegal, reports have shown that the use of marijuana has risen steadily. In a UK report from 2016, it was estimated that 2.1 million people used cannabis. A poll found the use of the drug on medical grounds was supported by 3 quarters of people in Britain. Crucially, in terms of its recreational use, nearly 50% of people are supporting this. So, how close is the UK to legalising cannabis?
- Marijuana is a class B drug in the UK, this means it is against the law to possess, distribute, or use the drug. If you are caught in possession of the drug, the maximum prison sentence is five years or a fine. For the supply of the drug, you can receive a maximum prison sentence of fourteen years.
- During Tony Blair’s government, marijuana was classified under the C category. Under Gordon Brown’s premiership, the drug was reclassified as a B group due to the substance being harmful and damaging to mental health.
- Between 2006 and 2014, the number of users who use the drug had fallen. If with the decline in use, the mental health treatment demand still increased by a half.
Uruguay was the first country to legalise marijuana for recreational use. Canada became the second country to legalise marijuana along with many other countries including parts of the United States but the majority will only allow for medicinal purposes only.
It is suggested by the NHS research, that the cannabis drug is of low-risk with only around 10% of users could develop an addiction. It is estimated that 15% of alcohol users and 32% of tobacco users will become addicted. As a result of cannabis use, no death cases were caused in the UK.
A report in 2018, the IEA has said in terms of regulation that cannabis is to be ranked within tobacco and alcohol, and all sales should have a restriction age to over 18’s. Also suggested is that marijuana could only be sold in premises which have a licence. A licence would also be required for importation and growing.
Will Cannabis ever be legalised
It has been stated by Paul North of Volteface that the UK is closer to legalisation than people know about and it will follow in Canada’s footsteps. He stated in the near future, that the UK will see a cannabis market that is regulated and leglised.
You can now purchase cannabis in the UK legally but by prescription only. With the current conditions of the current government, recreational legislation won’t happen anytime soon. A spokes-man for the prime minister spoke in 2018, he claimed that there has been no planning or deals made to decriminalise or legalise cannabis, however, no one said it will never happen. Under a different constitution and a different government, it is still possible!