Numerous studies highlighting the benefits of cannabis continue to capture the world’s attention. However, although faced with mounting evidence of cannabis’s gifts, the UK government has been slow to change its stance.
Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped people from using it and advocating for its legal use.
Despite its popularity and widespread use, it is still illegal to possess, cultivate or sell recreational cannabis in the UK. This means that anyone caught using marijuana can face heavy fines and even imprisonment.
This article will look at what you need to know about cannabis laws in the UK, why government officials are still fighting legalization, the potential benefits of using cannabis, and how to possess marijuana legally.
The Benefits of Cannabis
Current research shows that cannabis has many fantastic possible benefits for those who use it. These include reducing anxiety, relieving pain, treating epilepsy, and improving sleep. Cannabis can also help increase appetite and treat symptoms in people struggling with cancer or other debilitating conditions like HIV/AIDS.
Other potential benefits include:
- Remedying mental health issues like depression and PTSD
- Reducing inflammation
- Managing multiple sclerosis symptoms like muscle spasms
- Treating chronic pain
- Helping with addictions and symptoms of withdrawal
However, people who struggle with these ailments and routinely experience harmful side effects from prescription treatment are denied access to this plant every day. This is because cannabis is still illegal in the UK, and people that want to use it medicinally must go through an arduous process of getting a prescription from a specialist doctor.
Why Is Cannabis Still Illegal?
Despite mounting evidence of cannabis’s benefits, the UK government has been slow to change its stance on legalizing recreational cannabis.
In some ways, the UK government has been eager to jump on the bandwagon of other countries that have legalized recreational marijuana. Still, officials in charge of changing these laws are hesitant due to pressure from opposition parties and government advisers.
Many experts argue that the government ignores the potential benefits of legalization and instead focuses on fears not grounded in reality. For example, there is little evidence to suggest that legalizing cannabis would lead to increased crime or addiction rates. Studies on marijuana legalization in the United States have even shown that marijuana can help reduce crime levels.
In fact, when The Labour Party downgraded marijuana from a Class B drug to Class C, police officers saved almost 200,000 police hours! With extra time on their hands, our police force can focus on more serious offenses, including those involving violence.
However, the UK government continues to ignore this evidence and instead focuses on the minimal adverse side effects of cannabis use. This includes lung or respiratory issues caused by smoking marijuana and increased heart rate in some people who consume it regularly. But these symptoms do not outweigh the potential benefits of legalizing recreational cannabis, especially when you consider that there are other methods of consuming marijuana without smoking it.
How Legalizing Cannabis Can Help
Legalizing cannabis would also create a highly regulated market and provide the government with additional tax revenue, which could fund public health programs like addiction treatment or education. In the United States, states that have legalized marijuana greatly benefit from the additional income that cannabis provides.
This is evident by Colorado’s experience with cannabis legalization, as it has generated over one billion dollars in tax revenues since 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. If a similar situation were to happen in the UK, this would be a massive benefit for everyone involved.
Possible benefits of legalizing recreational cannabis include:
- more money for infrastructure and schools
- less money spent on policing and prosecuting drug use
- lower rates of violent crime from illegal drugs
- more jobs for people in the cannabis industry, which could help reduce poverty
- a more regulated market that would prevent minors from buying cannabis
- the widespread availability of safe products and less risk of contaminated products
The potential benefits of legalization are great, but there is still a long way to go before cannabis laws in the UK change. For the government to make decisions that benefit society, they need to change their old-fashioned thoughts about cannabis.
It is time for the UK to join the rest of the world and legalize marijuana!
How Can You Legally Possess Cannabis in the UK?
Unfortunately, if you are caught using or possessing marijuana in the UK, you could face heavy fines and even imprisonment. But there are a couple of things you can do if you want to use cannabis legally.
For most people living in the UK, there are two ways to possess marijuana legally: either you have a prescription (which must be issued by a specialist doctor) or work with an organization that deals with drug testing and research. In these cases, you must get special approval.
Unfortunately, these options are not feasible for most people, as the number of doctors who can prescribe cannabis-based medicines is still quite limited.
The Downfalls of the UK’s Medical Marijuana Program
If you want to obtain medical marijuana, be prepared to know that it’s expensive and typically a lower quality product. Not only that but it may be irradiated, a controversial practice that may strip cannabis of several helpful cannabinoids, including terpenes and flavonoids.
Additionally, you will not be able to grow your own marijuana plants, no matter how ill you are. This means that you will need to find a supplier of medical marijuana, which could be difficult and expensive.
The number of patients authorized to possess medical marijuana is minimal. Most people are unaware of how to access medical marijuana legally. If they have not already been diagnosed by a specialist doctor and prescribed medical marijuana, the process is next to impossible.
This means that if you have cancer or are suffering from another terminal illness, you will face difficulty obtaining a medical marijuana card. Furthermore, finding a doctor who can prescribe cannabis-based medication may be challenging if you don’t live in a major city.
If you are looking for a marijuana alternative that still has the associated benefits, hemp products are more widely available in the UK. Hemp is a variety of cannabis bred to have very low levels of THC (a psychoactive compound found in cannabis), so it does not get you “high.”
You can buy hemp-based CBD oil, seeds, food, cosmetics, and other products online or in health stores across the UK. However, some products may not be legal to import into the country. For example, CBD derived from hemp is permitted in the UK, but CBD derived from cannabis plants is not.
The current state of UK cannabis laws is confusing and perplexing for most people. In addition, the laws surrounding medical marijuana are wildly convoluted. Hopefully, as public opinion continues to shift in favor of cannabis legalization, the government will take steps to make it easier to access this beneficial plant.
The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the UK and is classified as a Class B drug. However, this does not stop people from obtaining it illegally or growing plants at home for personal use.
Cannabis possession can result in imprisonment and fines. This is a massive problem for the UK, and it has some of the most draconian drug laws in Europe. Every year, thousands of people are convicted of cannabis-related offenses in the UK. This number does not include those caught with less than 50 grams of marijuana and did not go to court.
The government is well aware that its existing drug policies are ineffective, but it has been hesitant to adjust. However, countries that have already legalized recreational cannabis see positive changes.
In fact, countries like Portugal have seen a decrease in addiction rates after decriminalizing cannabis.
The Future of Cannabis in the UK
Despite the government’s reluctance to legalize recreational cannabis, there are signs that things may be changing. Many government officials in the UK are starting to see the benefits of cannabis legalization.
Police are also changing their attitude, with some forces now choosing not to charge people caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis.
This is a huge step forward, as it shows that the government is finally willing to listen to what the people have to say about cannabis. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this panel will recommend full legalization or not, but it is a good sign that the government is starting to open up to the idea.
What You Can Do
If you want to possess marijuana in the UK, your best bet is to get a specialist or doctor’s prescription. However, this can be difficult and expensive, as many doctors are hesitant to prescribe cannabis-based medicines.
Thankfully, numerous advocacy and reform groups, like NORML, are fighting for legalization. You can support these organizations by donating time or money to their cause. If you have some extra cash, the fastest way to get cannabis legally is through one of these groups!
Another option is to write letters/emails to your local member of parliament. They need all the support they can get with this issue, so start advocating for change today if you want marijuana legalized in the UK!