Following a joint visit of British MPs to Canada, an announcement was made that cannabis and hemp would be “fully legalized” in the UK within five years.
It’s rare for British politicians to agree on anything, but a tri-partisan agreement seems to have been reached by at least some politicians when it comes to the question of cannabis legalization in the UK. One Labour party representative, David Lammy, even changed his stance during his visit to Canada, against the tide of his own party.
Lammy now backs cannabis legalization in the UK along with his Conservative party colleague, Jonathan Djanogly and Liberal Democrat Sir Norman Lamb. While cannabis remains a controlled substance in the UK; carrying a prison sentence of up to five years for anyone caught in possession, medical cannabis is legally given by doctors to patients in some cases.
As MP David Lammy said, during his Canada visit, “I want the market legalized, regulated and taken away from crime gangs.” Lammy added, “For young people not to be criminalized by use and properly educated. I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labeled, and properly organized in this country.”
At the same time, MP for North Norfolk, Sir Norman Lamb, became the first British politician to take cannabis on camera. He took some cannabis oil for a while in Toronto to see if it would help with his insomnia. “Taking this oil is purely for sleeping for relaxation, I will take it before bed and before my flight home,” Lamb told reporters, according to a BBC report.
As Lamb explained, “I was really anxious because I was chairing the technology and science select committee and I was traveling back overnight, and I thought if I get back with no sleep, it will be a challenge,” he said. “I slept incredibly well. I took the drops, and I slept very well on the plane home, I actually slept through breakfast.”
The ministers also heard from Piper Courtenay, a cannabis writer for a Canadian newspaper. She explained how legalization in Canada is working well on the whole but is not without its problems. Due to a supply and demand issue when it comes to cannabis in many parts of Canada, the black market is still thriving, and that’s problematic.
As Courtenay explained about the black market cannabis on the market, “It’s certainly better than the legal product I have tried so far because they genuinely care about growing good craft cannabis,” she said.
With that said, Conservative MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, was more reserved with his predictions for the future of cannabis legalization in the UK. “I think we have got a lot to learn before the legalization of recreational cannabis, which I think will happen at some point,” he said. “I think we’re on a 10 to 15-year cycle which would mirror what has happened in Canada.”
Unsurprisingly, the Home Office in the UK is still taking the age-old party line of “cannabis is bad.” They often release statements confirming that the government has no plan in the immediate future to legalize cannabis. “The legalization of these substances would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery they can cause to families and society,” said the Home Office in an official press release.
The tides of change are afoot in the UK, but it’s undoubtedly going slowly for now. As North America and other countries around the world move to legalize a plant that has been brutally prohibited for decades, it’s only a matter of time before our British friends across the pond fall in line. Before long, according to many commentators, cannabis will be legal throughout Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and further afield.