The UK’s attitude towards cannabis legalisation is comparable to the US’ attitude towards gun control, the Labour MP Paul Flynn has said. He added, “We’re in a similar denial mind set”
Flynn was one of the MP’s to call for the liberalisation of cannabis laws during the parliamentary debate, held yesterday evening. He argued that historical evidence supports the drugs medicinal use:
“Cannabis is the oldest medicine in the world. If there were any problems with natural cannabis it would have been apparent a long time ago”
The debate was called after a petition to legalise the production, sale and use of cannabis attracted nearly a quarter of a million signatures. But the lack of attendance highlighted the disconnection of the political class to a drug reform. Few MP’s did however accept the effect of a cannabis market in the UK.
Successful International Cannabis Markets
MP’s pointed to countries such as Uruguay, Portugal and some US States that have legalised or decriminalised cannabis, stating that the evidence pointed overwhelmingly to the benefits of doing the same in the UK. In Colorado the tax take for 2015 is predicted to be £81million.
Using Holland’s cannabis culture as an example, Flynn argued ‘cultural normalisation takes away the lure of forbidden fruit’.
The former Conservative minister Peter Lilley cited back to his early proposal for a drug reform ‘Common Sense: The Conservative Case for Change’ stating attempts to prohibit cannabis have failed, as usage in the UK is higher than in other countries where the drug is freely [legally] available.
“The current situation is characterised by the wilful confusion between the immoral and illegal, between use and abuse and between soft and hard drugs” – Peter Lilley, Common Sense: The Conservative Case for Change
He adds that the legalisation of cannabis is often misrepresented as a softening on policies; but on the contrary, legalisation could restore respect for the law.
Prohibition doesn’t allow for properly informed opinions and education, MP Caroline Lucas argued, the demonisation of cannabis has portrayed it as a ‘gateway drug’ when it is in fact a link to the criminal market; one that would not exist if the state controlled legal cannabis outlets.
The decriminalisation of cannabis is inevitable. It is happening today, in many parts of the country police have admitted to not prosecuting for personal cannabis use – the problem however is that the law is indefensible.
As the debate came to a close, Justice Minister Mike Penning made ‘small and coded’ references to looking at evidence for how the current act is affecting people.
Read more about the debate