Cannabis in the UK: New Drug Minister open to legalisation?
The UK has recently appointed a new Drug minister who is open to the idea of legalising cannabis. Could we soon be seeing a significant step in the decriminalisation or even legalisation of cannabis in the UK?
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government have just appointed a new Liberal Democrat MP as the drug minister, Norman Baker. Unlike his predecessor, he is open to the legalisation of marijuana should there be sufficient evidence to support it.
Baker’s predecessor, Jeremy Browne, another Liberal Democrat, was strongly opposed to legalising marijuana. He maintains that it is now much stronger than it used to be, and thus poses more of a risk to public health. While it is true, that the cannabis of today is stronger, that is not a bad thing at all. If anything, it‘s a positive development, since less smoke needs to be inhaled to achieve the same effect. Particularly in the light of ever more studies demonstrating the medicinal potential of cannabis, increased potency is a most welcomed development.
Baker on the other hand has maintained that marijuana is no more a threat to society and the individual than tobacco or alcohol, advocating police agencies to shift their focus onto harder drugs instead of wasting resources on arresting pot smokers. Although this is a much more progressive outlook than his predecessors, it is hard not to point out that research has shown cannabis to by far less harmful to the individual and society than tobacco and alcohol. Whilst putting them in the same bracket is better than full out rejection of cannabis, it still doesn‘t adequately assess cannabis.
It should be noted that although Baker is technically not against the legalisation of cannabis, he has stated that it is not his prime objective right now, and is not planning to give it any special attention, but it should definitely be considered. The Home Office is still conducting its research started this year into drug policy, which includes marijuana use. It will not be until this has come to light that Baker will likely consider making any change to UK policy.
As a whole, this will be some very encouraging news to most. It demonstrates further progression down the long road to ending cannabis prohibition. We‘re getting one small step closer.