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Poll results: British public supports legalization of cannabis to be sold like alcohol and cigarettes

Lord William Hague describes cannabis reform in the UK as a “decisive change that would be economically and socially beneficial."

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Poll results: British public supports legalization of cannabis to be sold like alcohol and cigarettes

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Cannabis has been illegal in the UK since 1928, when the 1925 Dangerous Drugs Act came into effect. However, the UK’s cannabis laws are on the brink of being overturned. Based on the results of a recent poll on cannabis legalization in the UK, 51 percent of the British public supports it.

The poll was conducted by BMG Research. It asked 1,500 people if they approved or disapproved of a proposal that  “cannabis be legalised, so that it is sold legally within a government regulated market in the same way that alcohol and tobacco is.”

Among the 51 percent who supported the legalization of cannabis to be sold and regulated just like alcohol and tobacco, 29 percent somewhat supported the idea, while the other 22 percent firmly supported cannabis legalization in the UK.

Those people who voted against it totaled 35 percent: 19 percent strongly disapproved and 16 percent somewhat disapproved of cannabis legalization in the UK. The remaining 14 percent weren’t quite sure what they felt about cannabis decriminalization in Great Britain.

Respondents were also asked: “To what extent would you support or oppose cannabis be decriminalised, so that it is still a controlled substance not available for sale on the market, but that it is not criminalised (i.e. no prosecution for possession)?”

The British public appears to be warming up to the idea of legal cannabis in the UK, with 52 percent responding positively to the question. Among those people, 20 percent strongly supported the idea and 32 percent somewhat supported it.

Strong opposition was felt from 16 percent of respondents, while 17 percent somewhat opposed of the idea. An additional 16 percent were unsure.

High profile figures support cannabis legalization in the UK

Lord William Hague supports cannabis legalization in the UK

It’s not just members of the British public who are openly showing their support for legal weed in the UK.

Former conservative leader and foreign secretary, William Hague, wants his party to boldly embrace cannabis reform. He described it as a “decisive change that would be economically and socially beneficial.”

Lord Hague has drawn attention to the current system, which is failing in the UK. Durham police chief, Mike Barton, is on Lord Hague’s side.

“The status quo is not tenable. It’s getting worse. Drugs are getting cheaper, stronger, more readily available and more dangerous. I have come reluctantly over the years to the conclusion that we need to regulate the market,” Barton told The Guardian.

According to the British non-governmental organization Health Poverty Action, the UK government could earn £3.5 billion in annual tax revenue if the drug is legalized and regulated for sale. Moreover, the National Health Service (NHS) could benefit financially.

UK Home Secretary announces a review of the medicinal use of cannabis

Billy and his mother, Samantha Caldwell

This change in public opinion probably has something to do with Sajid David’s decision to review the medicinal use of cannabis. Javid made the unanimous decision shortly after the mother of a 12-year-old epileptic boy named Billy Caldwell pushed for a change in the UK’s cannabis laws.

Samantha Caldwell’s son uses cannabis oil to relieve him of epileptic episodes. After landing in Heathrow airport back in June with medicinal cannabis oil, customs confiscated Billy’s medication, resulting in him being hospitalized.

With Mr. Javid’s support, the UK could be on-track to launching a medicinal cannabis market in the near future.

“It has become clear to me since becoming home secretary that the position we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory. It is not satisfactory for the parent, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors and it’s not satisfactory for me,” Javid disclosed to MP’s. “I’ve now come to the conclusion that it is time to review the scheduling of cannabis.”

Cannabis will not, however, be rescheduled for recreational use in the UK.

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Poll results: British public supports legalization of cannabis to be sold like alcohol and cigarettes