Britain's politicians have devised a pragmatic way to handle the possible legalization of cannabis in the near future.
The report drafted by legislators is calling for the UK to follow the lead from the United States by allowing those 18 and older to legally purchase cannabis in licensed retail locations. Legalizing the drug would also generate upwards of one-billion British pounds in tax revenue and reduce the harm done to users in society.
The panel, set up last year by the former Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb, has been chaired by Steve Rolles from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation.
“The reality is that millions of people use cannabis in the UK and there is a pressing need for government to take control of the trade from gangsters and unregulated dealers,” said Rolles.
That reality is starting to set in and the plan is to heavily push the new study in a spring conference debate.
Under the plans proposed by the study:
- Adults would be able to buy cannabis from licensed single-purpose stores modeled on pharmacies, like the marijuana dispensaries operating in Oregon and Colorado.
- Home-cultivation of cannabis would also be legal for personal use and small-scale licensed cannabis social clubs could be established. However, branding, promoting or advertising cannabis products would be banned.
- The price, potency and packaging of all sold cannabis would be controlled by the Government with a new regulator established to oversee the market. The price would disproportionately rise for higher-strength cannabis to discourage sales of the most harmful forms of the drug.
- A new regulator would be established to oversee the market, possibly modeled on Ofgem and Ofwat, government bodies created to promote competition and protect consumers' interests.
The framework in the report also details that UK’s current laws on drugs are outdated and harmful while spending billions fighting a losing battle on drug use and hours of police work included isn’t helping. With US states now adopting recreational cannabis such as Colorado they are paving the way for countries to realize the benefits.
“Legal regulation is now working well, despite the fear-mongering, in Colorado and Washington, and will roll out across the US over the coming years,” said Rolles.
The report also mentioned the price and potency of cannabis will be regulated by the government in a fashion that makes higher potency products more expensive. While this may dissuade people from this plan the report claims it may help cannabis users tone down their smoking habits.
The new drug reform by the Liberal Party is a plan that is looking brighter for UK’s legalization of cannabis and if more U.S. states adopt legalization we can potentially see other countries do the same.
“This is a groundbreaking report that is a huge contribution to the debate on introducing a regulated cannabis market in the UK," said former health minister Lamb.
"Every year, billions of pounds are put into the pockets of organized criminals selling cannabis, and vast amounts of police time and resources are wasted, going after those using the drug."