UK wants to regulate cannabis - New report highlights UK support for medical cannabis
There is a growing consensus among politicians and members of the public across the UK on the need to regulate medical cannabis smartly, creating potential not only for reform, but also for launching a legal market. This week, the London-based Adam Smith Institute (ASI) published a report in coordination with the English think tank VolteFace which concludes that regulation of cannabis is "much more desirable than simple decriminalization or unregulated legalization".
The ban harms society
English authorities have long maintained that cannabis has no medical value and only exacerbates social problems. In October, the country's health service announced that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, does indeed have medical value and should be regulated in the same way as other drugs.
ASI report follows a parliamentary report of the United Kingdom in September, which supported the regulation of medical cannabis, the same week as the Global Commission on Drugs calling for decriminalization of all drugs in the world.
Experts agree with the conclusion of the ASI report that the ban in England only hurts society and that it is time to change this evidence-based and harm reduction approach.
"I am very, very happy with this report," said Monday Paul Hayes, professor of drug policy and former CEO of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse during a public debate hosted by VolteFace.
Towards a new language
The findings of the report include an interesting recommendation: the language around drugs - and cannabis in particular - must be amended so that politicians and voters do not get stuck in outdated paradigms. He notes that the current regulations are a hindrance to research into the benefits of cannabis, adding that consumption should become a matter of public service, and no longer a matter of criminal justice.
Of particular note are the financial implications of legalizing cannabis. A key finding from the report is that the UK cannabis market is approximately 7 billion pounds sterling ($ 8,7 billion) per year, which could generate up to £ 1 billion per year in tax revenue… During the Volteface debate, Hayes argued that he was worried about the free market, which according to his words, would be motivated more by profit than by public health ... According to him, the marketing of cannabis could have a negative impact on mental health.
Hayes, suggests that what currently exists in the UK actually perpetuates crime, and allows children relatively easy access to cannabis; without knowing what is more, that cannabis does not kill, while thousands die of problems related to alcohol, tobacco and even refined sugar ...
"If you care about young people, then legalize it and fix it," said Bowman Hayes, also calling for the cancellation of criminal records for those convicted of non-violent drug crimes.
England is moving towards some form of smart legalization and regulation, the result of recent developments in Ireland, where Parliament on December 1 is expected to debate a bill on the legalization of medical cannabis.