Julian Huppert of the Liberal Democrats in a recent interview with BuzzFeed News has said that his party manifesto will pledge to fully legalise cannabis in the UK. This comes after former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, last year said “British politicians need to open their eyes to what is happening in the rest of the world”. Now the party has promised to go a step further if elected. Their 2017 manifesto will promise that cannabis can be grown at home, sold in shops and any taxes raised would be used to fund public health initiatives.
This will be the first time a mainstream British political party has fought an election on a pro cannabis platform. Under the proposal cannabis would be fully legalised and strictly regulated to ensure sales are to over 18s only, harmful chemicals are reduced and that a system of licenced shops/dispensaries is set up nationwide.
Party Predicts £1billion a Year Tax Revenue
It is estimated that the legal sale of cannabis in the UK could be worth up to £7billion annually. Of this, £1billion will benefit the public in tax revenues and through savings made by no longer prosecuting and criminalising people for using cannabis. These savings will be made by reducing the burden on police forces, prisons and health services.
“The market is run by criminal gangs and they have no interest in public health – the system is causing huge amounts of harm.
“The prohibitionist approach costs a huge amount of money, means we criminalise a large amount of people, and increases the harm. We spend a lot of money making people’s lives worse. That cannot be correct.” said Julian Hippert.
Independent Cannabis Regulator
With existing laws failing to reduce cannabis use the Lib Dems feel now is the time for a different approach. They will implement a system whereby an independent regulator of cannabis will oversee the market and reduce the harm caused by monitoring THC levels and increasing CBD in cannabis sold.
“There are two components in cannabis,” he explained. “One is the potent active form. And one is protective and prevents harm. Criminal gangs have bred strains which don’t have the protective element, so skunk causes much more harm than marijuana used to do. In the same way we regulate the alcohol content of a drink, you can regulate the strength.”
Other Political Parties Still in Denial
With the election of the Liberal Democrats being highly unlikely focus turns to other parties to change laws in the UK. Things become a little bleak at this stage with a Labour spokesman confirming that Jermy Corbyn’s party remains strongly opposed to cannabis legalisation and will instead focus on harm prevention. The Conservatives record on this is very much in favour of the existing failed policies and the SNP who are clear in stating they want medicinal use but not recreational cannabis, legalisation in the UK is still a long way off.
Will the UK ever see legalisation? Tell us what you think in the comments below.