UK cannabis campaigners call on the government to consider “sensible” reforms

"The reality is that cannabis reform in the UK is inevitable"

UK cannabis campaigners have launched a new report which is calling on the government to consider “sensible” reforms of the UK’s drug legislation.

The report follows on from London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recent plans to decriminalise some Class B drug offences for under-25s as part of a new scheme in the capital.

Release, a UK charity which is “the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law”, has now published a new report which is proposing “14 guiding social equity principles which should be integrated in the UK’s future legal cannabis market”.

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With recent public polls showing that over half of the British public support the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, Release say that “the reality is that cannabis reform in the UK is inevitable”.

Among the 14 principles set out by Release in the report are “removing criminal or civil sanctions for use or possession of cannabis, regardless of its legal or illegal origin”, the automatic expungement of past cannabis-related convictions, and permitting home cultivation of cannabis “in the same way that individuals are currently allowed to brew their own beer”.

Dr Laura Garius, the policy lead at Release, said that the UK is trailing behind many other countries in terms of progressing its drug reform.

“Despite unprecedented restrictions to movement and border closures as a result of the pandemic, the drug market remained remarkably stable and indications are that drug use is increasing, not decreasing,” she said.

“The UK Government’s new drug strategy regurgitated a ‘tough on drugs’ rhetoric, despite the Home Office’s own research concluding that the estimated £1.6bn spend per year on drug law enforcement is not impacting levels of drug use. Change is inevitable.”

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Alistair Carmichael MP, the Liberal Democrats’ Home Affairs spokesperson, also called on the UK government to “take power and money away from the criminal gangs” by introducing a legal and regulated cannabis market (via iNews).

“The Conservatives’ ideological ‘war on drugs’ has not stopped the supply of harmful drugs. All they have done is concentrate power in the hands of organised criminals,” he said.

“More and more countries around the world are leading the way on sensible reforms to drug laws. Under the Conservatives, the UK is trailing behind.”

In response, the Home Office said: “Our first of its kind Drug Strategy will deliver a whole system approach, backed by record investment to tackle the problem at every stage and address the underlying causes of crime head-on.”

Back in November, Deftones launched their own cannabis collection.

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