The Liberal Democratic party in the UK is continuing its fight to create a regulated legal cannabis market in the UK. According to Buzzfeed News, the party has proposed that adults should be able to grow cannabis at home, purchase it in licensed shops, or use it in social clubs similar to Amsterdam's coffee shops. Former Lib Dem Parliament member Julian Huppert has confirmed that the party will continue to support the pro-cannabis policy in this year's platform. Legalization, Huppert argued, would be a huge improvement to the country’s cannabis market that is currently “run by criminal gangs and they have no interest in public health - the system is causing huge amounts of harm."
The Lib Dems have been advocating marijuana policy reform in the UK for several years. In 2015, they called for lawmakers to treat drug use as a health issue rather than a public policy issue, and last year the party promoted a report co-authored by former chief drug adviser Sir David Nutt that advocated for the UK to create a regulated marijuana market. The report recommended taxing sales of the drug, which would bring the government an estimated £1 billion a year.
The United Kingdom’s general election is less than a month away, and despite the Lib Dem’s rational outlook on marijuana, most of the country’s electoral debate has centred around the battle between the Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Conservative Party’s Theresa May. The push to legalize cannabis is noble, but it might be too little, too late for the underdog Liberal Democrats and their leader Tim Farron.
Cannabis is currently a class “B” drug in the UK, and anyone busted with possession can be sentenced up to five years and given an unlimited fine. Anyone supplying or producing cannabis can be jailed up to 14 years, and also given an unlimited fine.