What is the Situation With Cannabis Laws in the UK Today?
Several countries around the world have changed their laws concerning possession and certain uses of marijuana in recent years. Some have allowed marijuana to be used for medical purposes under prescriptions, and others have decriminalised the possession of weed.
Other countries have gone further and allowed cannabis to be consumed for recreational purposes, as long as it is not in public. However, the UK is lagging far behind these countries. There are now many destinations that welcome cannabis consumers, and the US now has 18 states that allow legal recreational use, but the UK hasn’t joined them.
How do the current UK laws affect cannabis possession and use? And, would the country benefit from decriminalising cannabis, or would it be a turn for the worse?
What happens in the UK if someone is caught with cannabis?
Right now, cannabis in the UK is a Class B drug. This means that anyone who is caught in possession can receive a police warning, or a possible £90 fine. The penalty will also depend on the circumstances, the amount the individual is caught with, and previous criminal history.
If someone is found to be cultivating the drug, the penalties can include much stiffer fines and even time behind bars. This is especially true if the person growing cannabis is believed to be supplying and distributing.
Compare this to Canada, where anyone can go online to search for cannabis products, dried flower, and concentrate completely legally. In fact, any individual would find even more here and safely be able to order. In the UK however, things are different, and the situation is the same for medical marijuana too.
What are the current UK laws surrounding medical marijuana?
Fortunately, the UK has joined the progressive movement to permit marijuana to be used to help patients. In November 2018, the Government announced that from then on, doctors could prescribe marijuana for patients with chronic conditions.
Unfortunately, they only saw fit to allow medical marijuana to be used for M.S, severe forms of epilepsy, and chemotherapy patients. This has led to doctors having their hands tied when it comes to being able to help other patients.
Not only that, but it also puts patients at risk if they decide to take the law into their own hands, and grow their own cannabis.
How are the current laws affecting people needing medical help in the UK?
If someone wishes to use marijuana for medical purposes in the UK, then they need a prescription. However, as cannabis is only normally prescribed to patients with MS, severe epilepsy, and sometimes patients undergoing chemotherapy, many others are left without help.
This has led to many law-abiding citizens being forced to become criminals just to find some pain relief, and to ease their symptoms. In February 2020, an 80-year-old man was arrested for growing cannabis plants for his own personal use. Tony Bevington grew the plants to help relieve the pain he felt from terminal, non-curable kidney failure.
What about CBD?
The good news for fans of CBD is that it is fully legal in the UK, as long as there is little to no THC involved. For it to be legal, it requires a THC level of 0.2% or less.
There are exceptions, laboratory-produced oil that is a mix of 50/50 CBD and THC can be prescribed for multiple sclerosis.
CBD is starting to be used in a variety of products in the UK, with many citing the health benefits associated with it. There are many benefits of using cannabis, and one of them is pain relief. It is this area that many are seeking help with when they turn to CBD.
The problem is, as Tony Bevington found, the over-the-counter CBD oils that have no THC, don’t always help.
What would happen if the UK legalised cannabis?
For the doom-mongers out there, legalising cannabis would be a step closer to the end of society. When the situation is looked at more rationally, the outlook is somewhat different.
The reality is, many people like using cannabis for recreational use, and others need it for medical reasons. This won’t go away regardless of the law. By legalising cannabis all the current consumers will effectively no longer be breaking the law. This means the police no longer need to waste their time in this area.
If legal cannabis dispensaries were opened where customers could buy dried flower, edibles, and receive professional advice, jobs would be created, taxes gained, and the need to buy from dealers removed.
In short, removing the archaic laws surrounding cannabis could create employment, and bring in millions in taxes for other purposes.
Currently, the UK is far behind some other countries and many of the US states when it comes to cannabis laws. This will likely change in the future but for now, it means people who are trying to relieve painful medical conditions will continue to be treated as criminals.
If the law isn’t changed, many more people like Tony Bevington will continue to suffer and police manpower will carry on being directed in the wrong areas and wasted. Hopefully soon this will change.