By Emily Ledger
The appointment of our new Prime Minister certainly managed to divide opinion in the public, last week. But, his latest addition to his administration might add even more to the controversy.
Blair Gibbs, former policing aide to Johnson when he was Lord Mayor of London, has been added as a government advisor. Since then, Gibbs became a well-known Cannabis advocate, and Policy Lead for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis.
Many, who want to see the legalisation of both medical and recreational Cannabis, will see the appointment as a potential end to a frustrating and, often, futile battle. However, it must be said that others will be less pleased about the potential outcome.
While studies have shown that up to 77% of the UK population believe that Cannabis should be made accessible as a medication, the numbers concerning the legalisation of recreational Cannabis are lower at 55%.
However, the study by the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group also found that only 24% of the population oppose legalisation.
Blair Gibbs has been an outspoken advocate of Cannabis legalisation for the last seven years. His dedication to the cause was even clear throughout his time working at the Policy Exchange – a Conservative think tank.
While campaigning for policy reform on Cannabis, Gibbs praised Canada’s “bold policy and good government”, when the country legalised the class B drug last year. Three politicians who travelled to Canada revealed that they thought Cannabis will be legal in the UK in five to ten years.
Canada legalised both medical and recreational Cannabis in October, last year.
Another government advisor, Danny Kruger, has also expressed support for the legalisation of Cannabis. Kruger claimed that when it comes to Cannabis, “we do not need to ban everything bad. After all, the Victorians never prohibited alcohol”. Kruger quoted the success of the regulation of alcohol by the Victorians as a model.
The government released a statement following speculation of the advisors’ plans:
“These are comments made by individuals before they joined government and do not reflect government policy.”
Despite Cannabis being rescheduled in the Misuse for Drugs Act 2001, last year, few patients have benefited from the move. The government has come under fire as most patients are still forced to spend thousands for the medication.
Laws around Cannabis also affect the legal industrial Hemp and CBD trade in the UK. Despite both Hemp and CBD being legal in the UK, (Hemp with a Home Office license), CBD extraction is illegal.
So, despite these pro-Cannabis appointments, the government seems to be sticking, for now, to their same old stance: Cannabis is bad, we don’t like it. But, who knows, maybe the next five years will bring us closer to legalisation.