Could cannabis soon be legalized, regulated and taxed in the United Kingdom?
According to a 2013 poll, more than half of adults in the United Kingdom think the plant should be legal, or at the very least decriminalized. Now that majority has gained the support of Liberal Democrat leadership candidate, Normal Lamb.
The former care minister and MP for North Norfolk, known for his bold stance on matters like mental health and prison reform, is now urging constituents to consider legalizing marijuana much like the U.S. state of Colorado did in 2012. In Colorado, anyone over the age of 21 is able to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use, and Lamb believes that enacting similar laws in the U.K. would prevent unnecessary arrests and spending.
“There has been a catastrophic failure of the war on drugs, with thousands of lives lost.”
In reference to drug laws, Lamb expressed that they are:
“…criminalizing so many young people, which blights their lives because of a decision about personal use which then affects their careers and creates a global criminal network.”
Lamb recommends immediately legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes and further asserts that an evidence-based policy change is also necessary to allow for its recreational usage. Although he admitted to having concerns about drugs as a parent himself, he concluded that taking a rational, education-based approach to the issue would be far more effective than what is currently being done in the United Kingdom.
His sentiments will likely not come as a shock to those following the tenets of the Liberal Democrats. Known for being historically supportive of decriminalizing drugs, the party based part of their election platform in 2015 on allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use. They also urged a closer look at other countries and states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in order to gauge the effectiveness of doing so.
Lamb faces opposition by the former Liberal Democrat president, who is widely believed to be a frontrunner thanks to fierce backing by three of the party’s eight Members of Parliament. Lamb has several key endorsements of his own, however, including one from Julian Huppert, a longtime campaigner for drug policy reform.
“This is not the first time Norman has called for bold changes based on looking at the evidence – he’s done so on mental health, on prison reform and more,” Huppert said. “I think this is exactly the bold leadership we need, and hope people who feel likewise will support Norman.”
photo credit: telegraph