- The Fight For Decriminalisation and Legalisation
So it seems this time last year there was an interesting little survey done that somehow found itself on my Google feed this morning, carried out by a company called Savanta; People were asked about how harmful they thought legal and illegal substances are and why they think drugs should be decriminalised. The survey sought to gauge public attitudes towards different types of drugs, including cocaine, mdma, LSD, steroids, ketamine and heroin.
Now what’s interesting is that evidence from the survey suggests that marijuana is the only “drug” (I use the term “drug” here pretty loosely) for which there is more support for decriminalisation than there is opposition among voters. Meaning the UK is finally coming around on the whole reefer madness we adopted from the US and may be open to seeing a future filled with big nugz and sharing doobies over a pint. Hooray!
Wishful thinking, some might say, but to them I say get on the bandwagon before it’s too late! The legalisation train is moving and it’s not slowing down now. The surveys, based on over 2,000 adults and 101 MPs, found that three in ten MPs surveyed would support the decriminalisation of marijuana, with just 53% opposing any such move. Now that may not sound great with over half of MPs saying they would oppose decriminalisation of marijuana but when you remember that most MPs are stuffy old fellas that probably only smoked the devils lettuce when it was only 0.18% THC back in the seventies. The world has moved on Gramps and we have strains that’ll blow your head off now! Plus a lot of the time now you can trace the cabbage back to a reliable UK grower (Shhh! Don’t tell Boris) So we’re not relying so much on dodgy cannabis farms in South America for our herb anymore.
To add to the excitement, of the 2000 adult Brits surveyed; 41% support decriminalisation of dank buds while 36% oppose it; suggesting a divide between public and parliamentary opinion on the issue. With more of the British public seeing alcohol as more harmful (70%) than weed (64%). Which is insane considering our country's love for the week-long booze bender, it goes to show how far public opinion has come in the UK.
Want some stats? Support for decriminalisation of marijuana was expectedly higher among 18-34 year olds (50%) and among 2019 Labour voters (51%), as well as those in Scotland (48%). Opposition to decriminalisation of the drug was highest among 2019 Conservative party voters, with 49% in opposition. Of those aged 55 and over, 46% opposed decriminalisation, which was surprising to me as I remember my Nana being very much against herbal relaxation. I wonder if old folk’s homes are getting hot-boxed these days, if not then they will be in the future as todays adult toker's will become tomorrow's elderly pothead, ripping bongs during bingo.
There’s even a fella on our side that’s infiltrated his way into a Chief Executive role with the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Dr. James Nicholls, told LFF that it is only a matter of time before the U.K. follows other countries in legalising and regulating the use of cannabis.
He said: “Cannabis is being legalised and regulated across North America, and beyond. With European countries including Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg about to go down this route too, it is only a matter of time before the UK follows.”
“Multiple polls have shown majority public support – so at 3 out of 10 MPs backing it, they are actually behind the curve. Key is to put in place a sensible set of public-health centred regulations. These must learn from the failures of tobacco and alcohol regulation, and prevent commercial interests using advertising and promotion to increase use levels.”
If you’re wondering who the heck the LFF are then you’re not alone, I was in the same boat but then i did some digging and found that the LFF is a news reporting website and after some browsing I found that they had another interesting headline one that read; “REVEALED: UK is the world’s biggest producer of medical cannabis – but Brits can’t access it” - Which to me is appalling and shows that not only do we want legalisation but that we are ready and prepared.
After reading on, the report – that includes data from governments around the world – estimates that the UK produced 320 tonnes of legal medicinal cannabis in 2019 – more than triple the 2016 total of 95 tonnes, and accounting for 75% of the global total (468.3 tonnes). The UK therefore retains the ‘number one’ spot.
75% of the global total!
That’s insane! Considering I know quite a few stoners but not one person I know has access to legal marijuana, It’s near impossible to get a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK. A study by former government adviser Prof David Nutt and other researchers last year found that although cannabis-based products for medicinal use are now legal in the UK, it remains a challenge for patients to gain access: “Only very few National Health Service prescriptions have been written to date…the UK lags behind so many other countries which also have legalised medical cannabis.”
“From consulting with parents and patients, prescribers, pharmacists and decision-makers it seems that there are a series of distinct barriers to prescribing that need to be overcome in order to improve patient access to medical cannabis in the UK,” Prof Nutt and other authors said.
The only way to legally gain access to marijuana right now is to have one of two severe types of epilepsy and even then it is only used as a last resort. This is disappointing as there are countless studies out there suggesting the medicinal benefits of cannabis and we as a country are producing this magical medicine and just shipping it out rather than helping people here. A shame really.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said that controlled drugs devastate lives and communities and anyone dealing should expect to face the ‘full force of the law’.
He said: “We have no plans to decriminalise cannabis – it is controlled under Class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as there is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities.
“We must prevent drug use, support people through treatment and recovery, and tackle the supply of illegal drugs.” - He sounds like he’s fun at parties.
Written By Tom Knowles