Christopher Snowden, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs, has claimed that the current UK policy of prohibition has never worked, and it is inevitable that cannabis legalisation is on its way.
In a statement, he said that legalisation in the UK could raise £1 billion in tax revenue and that rules on the drug are slowly being replaced around the world: “I think it will happen and I think the main reason it will happen is the tax revenue.
“We’re making something like 200 million pounds from the sugar tax, we could be making a billion pounds at least in various different taxes related to cannabis.
“You’re giving people a safer form of the drug and you’re not having to throw people in prison policing a prohibition that has never worked and never will work.”
The importance of legalisation in the UK has been raised by those such as Carly Barton, who has suffered neuropathy and fibromyalgia since having a stroke at 24.
Five crime commissioners have recently backed her campaign named ‘Carly’s Amnesty’, which has been set up to call for change in law to allow some patients with serious health conditions grown their own cannabis without the fear of being arrested.
Cross-party MPs, ex-police chiefs and the Police Federation are amongst those who support the go ahead of the campaign, however opposers say the laws against cannabis must not be watered down and show the potential psychotic side-effects experienced by some cannabis users.
What are supporters saying?
Bill Griffin, from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis is one of many who supports the campaign and predicts that in the near future there will be even more pressure from the public towards legalisation.
Speaking to Hemp & CBD Media about Carly’s Amnesty, he said: “Carly’s Amnesty campaign has made great strides in humanising people who are using cannabis for medicinal purposes and highlighting their plight.
“Imagine having to confiscate the medicine from a chronically ill person, seeing how distraught they are and knowing how much they will suffer as a result; the only people winning from the current situation are criminals.”
Mr Griffin is currently prescribed with cannabis that contains both THC and CBD at a ration of 1:1, allowing him to have safe access to the drug.
He says that legalisation in the UK is absolutely essential: “Any possible harms that can be attributed to cannabis, is linked to the fact it is procured through an illicit market.
“Granting safe access to patients that are using cannabis to help manage symptoms immediately removes them from these risks.”
How UK law is restricting self-medication
Carly launched her campaign after she became the first UK adult to get a private prescription for cannabis only to find out she could not afford £1,400 for legal supplies.
This means, under current UK conditions and laws, she has to purchase cannabis illegally from a dealer or grow her own.
Despite this, Carly says she still has hope for the future of cannabis in the UK: “We are in a really interesting time in the UK, we are now seeing support, particularly for the right to grow medicine, from some of the most unlikely authority figures.
“I believe this change has come about because there is a greater understanding of the complexities of the plant and the needs of the patient population, we have our fantastic patient advocates to thank for all of the hard work getting us to this point.
“There is no putting the genie back in the bottle, now we need to focus on developing real world solutions to advance access.”
Cannabis is currently classified as a Class B drug its use for recreational purposes is illegal in the UK, meaning that those who are desperate to use cannabis for medicinal uses, still face the risk of prosecution.
To find out more about Carly’s Amnesty, click here.