Why Cannabis Should Be Legalised and Regulated in the UK
Why Cannabis Should Be Legalised and Regulated in the UK

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Why Cannabis Should Be Legalised and Regulated in the UK


Legalising and regulating cannabis in the UK could bring about a multitude of benefits across various sectors, from public health to law enforcement and the economy. We've been in London for a long time and have witnessed first hand the reasons we believe the current handling of drugs just doesn't work. We break it down below.


Legalising cannabis would allow for the establishment of a regulated market, thereby mitigating the risks associated with the illegal trade. Illegal drug distribution seems to run parallel with and perhaps fuels organised crime and violence, but legalisation would eventually breakdown these criminal enterprises, depriving them of their primary source of income, forcing them to collapse. By regulating the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis and drugs in general, the government would have a firmer grip on consumers gaining access to safe and standardised product. The government would have greater control over product quality and potency. With strict regulations in place, consumers can make informed choices about the products they purchase, knowing they meet safety standards and are accurately labeled. This regulation would also help prevent underage access to cannabis, as dispensaries would be required to verify the age of customers, in the same way your age must be verified when purchasing alcohol. Which begs the question, is the war on drugs a waste of time and taxpayer money? 

Maybe that's a question for another time. But we do believe that legalising cannabis would enable authorities to allocate resources more efficiently, redirecting funds from enforcement towards prevention, treatment, and education on drugs. Rather than incarcerating individuals for nonviolent drug offenses, the focus could shift towards addressing substance abuse as a public health issue. By providing support and rehabilitation services to those struggling at the crippling hand of addiction, the government can reduce recidivism rates and promote reintegration safely and securely into society.


From an economic standpoint, legalisation has the potential to generate significant revenue for the UK. Like every other legally traded product, regulated drugs could be taxed, which could contribute substantial funds to public coffers, which could be allocated towards healthcare, education, or drug abuse prevention programs and facilities. In addition to that, legalising cannabis would create jobs across various sectors, including cultivation, retail, and regulation, stimulating economic growth and providing opportunities for new businesses and shops. 


Furthermore, legalisation could lead to a reduction in the burden on the criminal justice system, on which there is a clear strain. Prisons are overpopulated and expensive to run, people are serving sentences for minor drug related crimes such as possession of drugs, in the same building as people serving sentences for violent crimes. This doesn't seem quite right. Law enforcement resources currently expended on policing cannabis-related activities could be reallocated to addressing more serious and more violent crimes, enhancing overall public safety and public confidence in policing. Legalising cannabis would alleviate the disproportionate impact of drug enforcement on marginalised communities, which are disproportionately affected by arrests and convictions for drug offenses.


From a public health perspective, legalising cannabis would enable the implementation of evidence-based harm reduction strategies. Regulations could include restrictions on advertising, packaging, and potency levels to minimise potential health risks associated with cannabis use. In a similar way to cigarette packaging, taking every opportunity to advertise any negative side effects of substances, allowing consumers to make their own informed choices by being appropriately educated. Additionally, legalisation would open new doors to facilitating research into the medical benefits of cannabis, potentially leading to the development of new treatments for various ailments. We've already seen a successful wave of people self-medicating using cannabis oils to treat chronic pain, anxiety and depression. In a lot of cases, it really does work. 


Our friends across the pond have seen some positive attributes in this field. American states like California have experienced notable success in legalising and regulating cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes, providing safe access to cannabis through dispensaries. In California, the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 1996 through Proposition 215 marked a significant milestone, allowing patients with qualifying conditions to access cannabis for therapeutic use. This paved the way for the establishment of a robust medical cannabis industry, with dispensaries providing patients with a variety of products tailored to their medical needs. California's legalisation of recreational cannabis through Proposition 64 in 2016 then expanded access to cannabis for adult recreational use. This legislation implemented stringent regulations on cannabis cultivation, production, and distribution, ensuring product safety and quality control. Dispensaries licensed under state regulations offer consumers a wide range of cannabis products, including flower, edibles, concentrates, and topicals, all subject to rigorous testing for potency and contaminants. By providing a legal and regulated market, California has effectively diminished the illicit cannabis market while generating significant tax revenue and promoting consumer safety.


It's important to acknowledge that legalisation alone is not a panacea for all drug-related issues. If only anything were that easy. Education, prevention, and treatment must be enforced as integral components of drug policy to address substance abuse effectively. However, we believe by legalising and regulating cannabis, the UK can take a significant step towards reducing the harms associated with drug prohibition while simultaneously reaping the economic, social, and public health benefits of a regulated market.