Backing cannabis reform in Parliament

Cannabis has recently been back in the news, due to positive developments abroad, but unfortunately less so domestically.

Germany is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a regulated market. Under the proposals, adults will be able to purchase cannabis from dispensaries, individuals will be able to grow small quantities at home, and farmers will be able to cultivate it for sale.

While US President Joe Biden recently announced a pardon of those federally convicted of cannabis possession, as well as seeking to reclassify the plant into a lower harm category.

Even Thailand, which has previously had a reputation for tough drug laws, has shifted its position dramatically in recent months – with its use for some medicinal and recreational purposes now decriminalised.

Dubious science

However, in the UK, a number of Police & Crime Commissioners have recently called for a backsliding towards making cannabis a class A drug, utilising dubious science as the basis for their position.

Not only are they out of step with the science but also with the public. Recent polling by YouGov shows that 42% of voters favour a more liberal approach towards cannabis, while just 23% say it should be tougher. The remainder say the laws are about right, or they don’t know.

The Liberal Democrats have a settled party position on cannabis, which is that it should be regulated in a manner not dissimilar to the German proposals. This could create tens of thousands of jobs and bring in over £1 billion in tax revenues.

Indeed, cannabis has the potential to bring an array of environmental, medical and economic benefits. These include decarbonising the construction industry, making farming more sustainable and commercially viable, and helping patients manage an array of medical conditions.

Challenges

However, at present there are many incremental issues which hinder the development of the industry. These include Novel Food rules, licensing regulations, THC limits, regulatory guidelines, investment criteria, and the inability for GPs to prescribe cannabis to their patients.

For us to start seeing some of the potential benefits of cannabis to our society and economy, it’s vital there is progress in tacking some of these issues in the short term.

The Cannabis Industry Council is supporting efforts by our member Maple Tree to secure parliamentary time for a debate on the economic merits of the emergent UK medical cannabis and CBD industry.

We urge Liberal Democrats to write to your MP on this important matter by completing this simple form: https://maple-tree.emailyourmp.uk. It will take just a matter of minutes and will help highlight the groundswell of public support for the medical cannabis sector.

Hopefully this can move the political debate on from posturing on cannabis to look ‘tough on drugs’ to a focus on the significant medical, economic and environmental benefits of the plant.

* Mike is the CEO of the Cannabis Industry Council

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This entry was posted in The Independent View.
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14 Comments

  • In the interests of transparency, it would be valuable if Mr Morgan-Giles could please tell us who finances the Cannabis Industry Council. Could he also please comment on a report in July, 2022 that,

    “Traffic crash injuries soar in areas where cannabis is legalised, new research has shown. An investigation by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Virginia, US, found a 5.8 per cent rise in crashes that caused injury, and a 4.1 per cent increase in fatal crash rates, in five states which allow recreational marijuana. Colorado had the biggest jump in injury-inducing crashes, with a 17.8 per cent increase, while California had the smallest, with a rise of 5.7 per cent.

    The researchers found no increase in a comparison group of states which did not legalise the drug.

  • Helen Dudden 11th Nov '22 - 12:17pm

    I use medical CBD for pain relief. It has to have lower than 2% THC. Very few side effects. This as medication has good results for other medical conditions.

  • Jason Connor 11th Nov '22 - 2:16pm

    That’s fine for medical use, no problems with that but am against legalisation for recreational purposes. As a Council on an estate which has been blighted by drug dealing and use, I don’t see anything good about this. It will just embolden the suppliers and users, lead to an increase in anti social and threatening behaviour towards others, crime such as theft etc. All of this happened by the way in my block so I will continue to campaign against these plans.

  • @Jason Connor – surely legalisation will do the opposite. Why would you buy from a dealer on the street corner, with all the associated risks (& risk premium on prices) – even if they aren’t paying tax on their sales, when you can pick it up cheaply in Boots or your local newsagent?

    There’s a separate debate to be had about ‘hard’ drugs but moving to a legal supply chain for marijuana can only reduce the problems of crime and ASB currently associated with dealers.

  • George Thomas 11th Nov '22 - 7:16pm

    I don’t know what the answer is, but the aim should be to have as few people taking cannabis as possible and those taking it taking it in as small doses and as irregularly as possible. I don’t mind the changes suggested to make it as safe as possible but the aim doesn’t change.

  • Helen Dudden 11th Nov '22 - 7:21pm

    I buy my medical CBD from a registered provider. I would agree that taking it as a pleasure, and driving is a dangerous situation. The THC is used for medical conditions but the CBD with less than 2% is reducing any illegal issues.
    There are many pain relieving medications that need control when driving. I don’t drive as I feel my condition could cloud my judgement.
    Medical CBD is expensive, but is my best option rather than large amounts of paracetamol. I can’t use opiates or anti inflammatory medication due to my health conditions.
    I personally feel, CBD has an important place in treatment as with THC.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Nov '22 - 8:31pm

    @David Raw
    “The researchers found no increase in a comparison group of states which did not legalise the drug.”
    There might of course have been other differing interfering factors between the legalising states and the non-legalising ones – might compromise the comparison.

    If I understand correctly cannabis hangs around in the human body much longer than some other drugs. But is there a point before it has totally disappeared from the system at which it could be considered highly unlikely to impair driving? As per alcohol limit for driving?

  • Jason Connor 12th Nov '22 - 10:22am

    Legalisation will not make any difference and could make things far worse. It will not stop dealers undercutting unregulated outlets. I can see criminal gangs exploiting the situation. Of course those of us on lower incomes, council estate tenants etc. will suffer the consequences. That’s why most of my neighbours are against legalisation of cannabis. Then there are the effects of cannabis smoking on people’s mental health. I had a former friend from childhood who died from secondary effects of prolonged cannabis use.

  • David Garlick 12th Nov '22 - 11:51am

    I am pro legalisation but as ever the devil will be in the detail.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the trade goes on without legalisation and one of the main benefits of this change is to deny the criminal fraternity profit and keep young people out of the police records which blight their futures. If the Police haave less work to do as a result of legalisation that would be a bonus too.
    However, I do acknowledge the possible pitfalls and possibly a major ‘Commission’ to look into the issue is the way forward which would help to address the hopes and the fears of all concerned?

  • Having looked after a community overrun with drug’s and working with the police for many years on closing down properties associated with drugs real regulation is welcome.
    @ Jason you do know that medical cannabis is half the price of illicit cannabis and the only way the black market could compete is by reducing the price to less than £5 a gram. They are not going to do that …
    As a councillor you should more than understand the pressures on communities that illicit drugs cause and to want to keep them and the OCG’s in charge of your community is alarming. The police are excellent at mopping up careless drug dealers or nieve growers but without true public support they are benign. After all just for cannabis alone it is now estimated 1.8 million people now use medically they ain’t going to be saying anything to anyone any time soon…

  • Stretchy Realms 15th Nov '22 - 4:43pm

    Criminalising drug users does more harm than drug use.
    Carry on with your “war on drugs” if you want business to stay in the hands of gangsters and your children to be experimenting with “legal” highs.
    Taxed weed could fund rehab if needed.
    Most weed users I know are happy to stay at home playing on their Playstations.
    I like to smile and I am a productive member of society.
    I love weed, to the point where your arguments or threats of incarceration are futile.
    Boomshankah to all the herbalists out their. XXX

  • Graham Ellis 15th Nov '22 - 5:21pm

    I lived for 36 years in Hawaii and witnessed the ‘War on Drugs’ with all it’s negative consequences like incarcerations and arrests for cannabis which caused untold harm to families, community breakdown and the proliferation of hard drug usage, crime and violence. It took legislators decades to reverse their erroneous positions and public views but legalisation of medical marijuana eventually followed where people could grow six plants, use the medicine and live in peace. A few years later recreational use of marijuana was legalised and businessmen, politicians, police officers and others who had maintained the negative narrative benefited by gaining financially, experiencing less social strife, less crime, less use of hard drugs and more community harmony. I’ve lived in all these conditions and full legalisation is the state which I consider is best for my family and my community. Now I live in the U.K. and I’m praying for the day it happens here.

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