Following relentless campaigning by countless individuals and organisations from across the political spectrum, medical cannabis has today become legal in the UK with overwhelming public backing. It will take time to ensure adequate patient access but it’s heartening that the traditionally prohibitionist Conservative Party is open to change: spurred on by the bravery of the Home Secretary.
The tide is turning on this issue around the world, with solid evidence that medical cannabis reform not only helps hundreds of thousands of potential patients: it also disrupts drug trafficking and reduces opioid and heroin overdose deaths. Today we join Canada, 31 US states, Australia, Israel, and many European countries in taking this important step.
The same shift is happening with legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. Yesterday saw Mexico’s Supreme Court rule that an absolute ban on recreational marijuana use is unconstitutional; now Mexico’s lawmakers will have to go back to the drawing board to devise a sensible system of regulation. Last month, Canada became the first G7 country to legalise and regulate recreational cannabis, following in the wake of nine U.S. states and Uruguay. There’s popular appetite for change here: a Populus poll released this week found that the general public is now almost twice as likely to support the legalisation of cannabis in the UK than they are to oppose it. Support is strongest among young people, who are some of the biggest victims of criminalisation.
In the coming months and years, we’ll be at the forefront of ensuring the momentum towards more sensible drug policy continues. From packed rooms at party conferences and university talks, to newspaper op-eds and in-depth research papers, we’ve been fighting the good fight for decades. We’re confident that recreational cannabis legalisation will be a reality in the UK. Let’s make it sooner rather than later.