The United Kingdom will legalize cannabis within 5 to 10 years. That is according to a prediction by a cross-party group that had gone on a fact-finding mission in Canada.
Canada legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in 2018. It was the second country to do so after Uruguay. Critics are sceptical, and they call for more studies on the effect of legalizing class B drugs, and what impacts cannabis has.
The Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said that he had observed how legalization works in Canada and believes that the UK could do better.
A new poll by YouGov found that there were twice as many Britons supporting legalization as those opposing it. Apparently, more and more people feel that legalizing marijuana is the best thing for the UK.
But what are the benefits of legalising cannabis in the UK?
Currently, in the UK, marijuana is a class B substance with legal penalties of up to five years in prison. However, you won’t likely get a warning if caught with a small amount of cannabis, especially as a first-time offender.
Repeat offenders could face prosecution, caution, or fine.
Supplying or producing a class B substance can land you in prison or an unlimited fine or both. The push for legalization has been gaining traction over the last few years. Celebrities such as Richard Branson, Russell Brand, and Sting are all in support of relaxed regulation.
Singer Paloma Faith argued that people should be allowed to smoke weed and grow it in their gardens.
“‘I think people should be able to smoke weed. Grow it in the garden…not laced with anything. You won’t end up in hospital because you smoked something dodgy.’” she added.
In a documentary, rapper Professor Green argues that relaxing the marijuana rules is necessary for safety.
Some of the countries where marijuana is already legal include Portugal, Norway, and The Netherlands. In some of the other countries, police do not arrest people for possession, but there are stiff penalties for dealing.
In Turkey, it is legal to cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Countries such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, Puerto Rico, and Australia, marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes.
In the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Uruguay, Colombia, Jamaica, Chile, and the majority of the US States, marijuana has been decriminalized in some form.
The following are some of the benefits
01.Ease pressure on the justice system
Cannabis was added to the list of proscribed drugs by the Dangerous Drugs act in 1928. Despite having this status, statistics from the home office indicate that cannabis use continues to grow.
According to Lammy, legalization eases the pressure on the justice system and the police. The potential benefits include a reduction of disproportionate criminalization of particular groups, and, of course, hurting the bank balance of criminal organisations, he adds.
Up to 93% of the 200,000 people subject to a stop and search were from lower socio-economic groups. Black people are up to nine times more probable to be stopped and searched for drugs than white people.
In the current system, the cannabis market that The Institute of Economic Affairs puts at a staggering £2.5bn, benefits the illegal enterprise.
02. Protect underage persons
Lammy argues that it is easier for children to access cannabis than alcohol. Putting it behind the counter with ID requirements and security guards would significantly limit access for the underage individuals.
He argues that it is possible to control and reduce the THC levels and minimise mental health concerns.
In 2018, home secretary Sajid Javid had to intervene so that a boy who has severe epilepsy could receive marijuana oil as part of the treatment. According to his family, Bill Caldwell had not had intense epileptic fits for up to 250 days, until his cannabis oil medication was seized.
Thankfully, the laws and restrictions for medicinal use of cannabis oil and cannabis were recently relaxed as of 1st November this year.
Scientists say that the phytocannabinoids or the naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant can stop the spread of cancer cells by blocking the blood supply. The compounds can stimulate systems in your body Associated with the immune, endocrine and brain tissues.
Previous studies have shown that cannabis can help lessen the effect of anti-cancer therapies such as sickness and nausea.
04. Generate taxes
Adam Smith Institute, a think tank, has said that up to 1 billion pounds could be generated if marijuana was regulated like other substances such as tobacco. The criminal justice savings would also pile up, saving the taxpayer up to £50 million per annum.
There are about 1,363 prisoners for cannabis-related offenses.
The cons of Legalization
However, the call for legalization is not without opposition. NHS consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Marta Di Forti, said that up to two-thirds of her patients who have psychosis had a history of marijuana use.
Studies indicate that up to 10% of cannabis users become addicts. It also increases the risk of long-term psychiatric problems such as psychosis and depression.
- Marijuana is one of the most extensively used illegal substances in the UK. Between 2017 and 2018, 72% of adults between the ages of 16 and 59 used the drug.
- Up to 10 million Britons, which is ⅓ or 30% of adults have tried cannabis at least once in their life.
- There are approximately 255 tonnes of cannabis purchased in the black market by 3 million illegal users. The marijuana market is worth around 2.5 million pounds in the UK.
How many cannabis plants can be grown legally in the UK?
The Stance of the UK government regarding cannabis is unequivocal. They continue to enforce a non-evidence-based and non-scientific policy. The government argues that marijuana is harmful to your mental health and continues to classify it as a controlled substance.
The legal penalties for distributing selling or using cannabis are quite severe. However, things might change with the current push for legalization, and new scientific discoveries on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana.
Based on the Misuse of Drugs Act, you will face legal penalties for
- Possessing a controlled substance
- To unlawfully distribute a controlled substance
- Hold a controlled substance with intent to distribute it
- To permit premises you manage or occupy to be utilised for use or smoking drugs.