UK Parliament To Debate Cannabis Legalisation
A couple of months back, a petition was started on the official UK parliament website calling for the legalisation and regulation of cannabis. Little did anyone know that that it would end up being one of the most popular and supported petitions to ever grace the website, gaining more than 210’000 signatures. To put it into context, the government responds to any petition that reaches 10’000 and has to consider debating anything that reach 100’000 signatures. It has been quite a rollercoaster ride, but now it has been announced that cannabis legalisation will officially be debated by parliament on Monday the 12th of October.
TIME FOR CHANGE?
Why a rollercoaster ride? Because only a few weeks ago, despite the obvious public backing, the Conservative government released its official response to the petition, and it was damning. In their response, they said that the current government had no intention of legalising cannabis and that there was clear scientific evidence that cannabis was harmful. The thing is though, the research they are citing is old, and much research has been done since disproving their argument. Furthermore, the research they are basing their argument concluded that cannabis should be reclassified to the least harmful bracket of drugs – something they failed to mention in their report.
To top it all off, they said that legalisation would have no impact on the black market, and that it would cost more to regulate than the money made in taxes from it. Really? I think Colorado would say otherwise, where crime has dropped, the black market has shrunk, tax revenues are going through the roof, teenage use has fallen, whilst adult use has remained the same. Then look at Washington, where traffic fatalities are at an all-time low. There are many advantages to be had, and it would seem the UK government is happy to lie about them.
This is why it comes as a breath of fresh air to hear that the debate will go forward, because the committee assessing it didn’t have to approve it. The debate will be led by Labour MP Paul Flynn, a member of the committee, and an MP that has been campaigning for legal medical cannabis in the UK since 1999.
PUTTING ON THE PRESSURE: UK CITIZENS, CONTACT YOUR MP
In all likelihood, there is a very slim chance that this will directly lead to a change in UK law. The current government is digging its heels in and regurgitating the same old rubbish from decades ago, despite clear and irrefutable evidence, and the change taking place across the globe. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if the party whips are telling all their MPs to not attend the debate. It is a crying shame, and a spit in the face of democracy. This is why it is so important that if you live in the UK you contact your MP and urge them to attend the debate. An MP is answerable to their constituents more so than their party leader, and if enough pressure is put on them, they will attend.
Even if the debate doesn’t change the law in any way, it will be covered by mainstream media, and it will show the government the will of the people, putting mounting pressure on them to legalise. As many prominent activists are aware, this is a war of attrition. The evidence is on the side of legalisation, and it is a movement snowballing across the globe. With each event like this, the stance of the government is chipped away at and weakened. The media coverage this is sure to get will stimulate debate amongst people who wouldn’t normally care about cannabis, and the issue will continue to grow in prominence. It is not a matter of “if” cannabis will be legalised, it is a case of “when.”