Should the UK legalise cannabis?

A number of countries have decriminalised cannabis for personal use. None of them have descended into anarchy, so what’s preventing the UK government from following suit?

The Conservative government claims to be in favour of evidence-based policies – in rhetoric, at least – yet successive UK governments have signed up to the United Nations international drug convention, a convention based on prohibition and the “war on drugs”, neither of which have any evidence of working.

But does signing up to UN drug conventions matter when agreements can be sidestepped by individual states? Portugal’s decision to decriminalise all psychoactive substances in 2001 being a case in point. buy Marijuana online

And Portugal is not alone. It is now 25 years since the Czech Republic effectively decriminalised the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. And in 1994, Switzerland introduced heroin-assisted treatment, a form of state-sanctioned heroin supply for certain users. But it is with cannabis that the most significant developments have occurred. In late 2013, Uruguay took the decision to legalise the recreational use of cannabis (as opposed to “decriminalise” where possession can lead to a fine, but not a criminal record). It was the first country to do so since the global drug prohibition framework was established by the United Nations in 1961.

Uruguay demonstrates that policy alternatives are possible without any international enforcement. Several US states have followed Uruguay, extending liberalisation to recreational as well as medical cannabis users. But the UK remains steadfast in its resolve, maintaining that current policy is working. buy Marijuana online

False logic

The UK is looking increasingly out of step with many other countries when it comes to its approach to drugs in general and cannabis in particular. In the aftermath of changes in the US, polling suggests increasing numbers of UK citizens are also in favour of a change in the law.

The Home Office acknowledges that there is no “obvious relationship between the toughness of a country’s enforcement against drug possession, and levels of drug use in that country”. Convictions relating to cannabis use have reduced by 46% over the last five years. This could suggest that cannabis has been quietly and partially decriminalised. Yet the government maintains its outdated and dogmatic tough approach to drugs when making public statements about cannabis. buy Marijuana online

The government claims that prohibition works because cannabis use has declined in the UK in recent years. This decline in use may account for some of the fall in cannabis conviction rates. But if we follow the government’s false logic in relation to prohibition and simply wait for cannabis use to fall further, assuming it does (a very big assumption), then it would take a further five decades before their aim of eliminating cannabis use is achieved.

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