THEY JUST SAID NO: UK Gov Responds to Cannabis Legalization Petition
Despite a petition having gained over 200,000 signatures the UK Government has turned around and given a flat out no to cannabis legalization in the UK.
In our last article "UK Demands Legal Cannabis" we asked "hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom demand the legalization of cannabis! But will the government listen?"
The petition originally launched on Tuesday 21st of July on the UK Government petition site http://petition.parliament.uk asking to "Make the production, sale and use of cannabis legal.”
Within 5 days it had reached 100,000 signatures, the amount it needed for Parliament to consider it for debate, and ten times the amount needed for a response from Parliament. Now over a month later and the petition has gained over 200,000 signatures.
Despite the clear demand for legalization in the UK, and the growth of a Cannabis Social Club movement, the government seems to be have an opposite viewpoint and responded with this statement:
The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue (‘Cannabis Classification and Public Health’, 2008).
Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. Legalization of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families.
Legalization would also send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs.
Despite the potential opportunity offered by legalization to raise revenue through taxation, there would be costs in relation to administrative, compliance and law enforcement activities, as well as the wider costs of drug prevention and health services.
The UK's approach on drugs remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities; help dependent individuals through treatment and wider recovery support; while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply and tackling the organized crime that is associated with the drugs trade. The Government will build on the Drugs Strategy by continuing to take a balanced and coherent approach to address the evolving challenges posed.
There are positive signs that the Government’s approach is working: there has been a long term downward trend in drug use over the last decade, and more people are recovering from their dependency now than in 2009/10. The number of adults aged 16-59 using cannabis in the last year in England and Wales has declined over the last decade from 9.6% to 6.7%, with cannabis use amongst young adults aged 16-24 and young people aged 11-15 following a similar pattern.
You can read the statement and sign the petition here - http://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104349
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs actually recommended in 2011 that possession of any drug for personal use should be decriminalized, after seeing the successful changes other countries had made in many other countries. The ACMD claimed that this would save police, courts, probation and prison services the costs of dealing with drug offenders.
In 2009 another ACMD advisor, Professor David Nutt, was actually fired a day after stating that that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol! He had previously come out in favor of cannabis legalization and even advocated cannabis cafes in the UK. But this was all ignored by the UK government who kept on with their relentless war on drugs.
It's hard to know what will happen in the future as the government changes, and other laws in other countries come in effect, but one thing is for sure; a ever increasingly large number of people in the UK, and around the world, want cannabis, and many other substances legal.
UPDATE: Parliament will debate this petition on 12 October 2015.