A new declaration from the United Kingdom’s central government has cannabis advocates and medical experts alike disappointed in the Home Office’s ignorance towards the benefits of cannabis and dangers of prohibition.
According to The Daily Mail, the U.K.’s central government released their annual drug strategy report this week, with a clear plan outlining the country’s intentions to keep cannabis, and other narcotic, on the wrong side of the law for the foreseeable future.
“We have no intention of decriminalising drugs.” The report says. “Drugs are illegal because scientific and medical analysis has shown they are harmful to human health.”
But as far as cannabis is concerned, that statement is nothing but political posturing, at least according to real life scientific analyst Ian Hamilton, a drug researcher who works out of England’s York University.
“The government has missed an opportunity to provide less harmful ways of people accessing and using cannabis.” Hamilton told the Daily Mail. “The U.K. is falling behind many other countries who are adopting progressive policies towards drug use. These countries have embraced the evidence and recognise that punishing people who use drugs does not improve their health and adds to social inequality.”
And while residents in countries like Uruguay, Spain, and even large swaths of the U.S. have already shown that cannabis legalization doesn’t bring hospital back-ups and streetside mayhem, the pro-prohibition politicians also have their heads in the sand when it comes to their own backyard, where Brits have been using cannabis for years, with U.K. criminalization unjustly locking up tens of thousands of marijuana users every year.
In a new survey collected by YouGov for Vice, young Brits reported that cannabis and other drugs are already easier to get than pizza, but without legalization, the country’s favorite drug is still subject to the dangers of the black market, be it pesticides and mold buildup or the possibility of robbery and arrest.
Over 70% of the Vice survey respondents say they favored a policy more focused on “treatment and rehabilitation” than the current version of police-first regulations.
With the country’s researchers and citizens both pushing for responsible, health first cannabis policy, the United Kingdom’s lawmakers can no longer hide behind the facade of their pseudo-scientific arguments to justify prohibition.
Still, without a complete 180 in philosophical practice, the U.K.’s 2 million plus cannabis users will be forced to operate in the shadows and will still face jail time for possessing a plant. Currently, the country’s laws dictate that anyone found possessing marijuana can face up to five years in jail.