Outside of the US, the legal cannabis movement is quickly gaining momentum. In the United Kingdom, the government has been hinting at the possibility of lax legal marijuana laws in the future.
“Every year billions of pounds are put into the pockets of organised criminals selling cannabis and vast amounts of police time and resources are wasted going after those using the drug,” said Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb. “A regulated market in the UK will take profits out of the hands of organised crime and reduce both health and social harms.”
New Marijuana Survey Results
Most locals in the country seem to be onboard with the idea of mainstream cannabis. According to a recent survey by ORB, a research firm that specializes in geospatial predictive analysis, more than 47 percent of British residents are in favor of legalizing weed for sale via registered shops. From a long-term perspective, cannabis activist and Labor MP Paul Flynn explained that legalization could raise up to $1.2 billion per year in tax.
Composed of over 2,000 survey participants, roughly 53 percent of males and 41 percent of females gave the measure a “thumbs up.” London and Scotland displayed the highest approval ratings, while the North East showed the most resistance in opening marijuana laws. Moreover, 50 percent of participants in the AB income bracket support legalization. This figure is noticeably higher compared to individuals in the DE income bracket at 44 percent.
The study was commissioned by the Liberal Democrats for The Independent. Scientists, academic professionals and police chiefs were summoned for the creation and administration of the survey. Analysts expect the party to use the survey as leverage during an upcoming spring conference debate.
Cannabis No Longer a Threat
In the past decade, British police have renewed their mindset regarding marijuana-related arrests. Local police no longer see weed as a serious threat, compared to hard drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. According to BBC, cannabis possession arrests in the region have decreased by a whopping 46 percent since 2010- despite an increase in marijuana smokers. Moreover, the number of people charged for such crimes fell by 33 percent (based on statistics released from the Freedom of Information Act).
“It’s freed up our staff to deal with things that are more important,” admitted Chief Constable Mike Barton. Last year, Durham officials announced a shift in investigative priorities within the region. The group clarified that it would stop targeting or investigating cannabis users, including individuals growing the plant for their own use under Class B regulations. Between 2005 and 2009, the government reviewed cannabis guidelines diligently under the recommendation of various advisory councils, which resulted in the move from Class B to Class C and vice versa during the four-year period.