By Emily Ledger
Last week, Canex looked at the UK’s Cannabis politics. We laid out everything there is to know about the main political parties’ stance on Cannabis – both medical and recreational.
As today is the last day before the election, we’re having a bit of a recap. We’ll be looking at the policy of the Conservatives, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party.
Despite taking the decision to reschedule Cannabis in 2018, allowing for medical prescription, the Conservative policy has remained, well, conservative.
After the initial excitement around the rescheduling of Cannabis over a year ago, it soon became clear that not much had changed. Reports show that there has been only a handful of medical Cannabis prescriptions provided since the change. What’s more, patients often had to be prescribed through private clinics, at significant cost to themselves.
The party’s current policy plans make no mention of changes to the status of medical Cannabis or Cannabis-based medical products.
The party sparked excitement among legalisation activists this Summer, when it was announced that well-known Cannabis advocate, Blair Gibbs, was to become a government advisor. However, the Government soon clarified that any past comments made by government advisors did not reflect the view of the government.
The Conservatives have currently made no claims about plans for recreational Cannabis policy reform.
For more information on the Conservatives’ Cannabis politics, read our full profile.
The Labour Party
Following the Conservative-enacted rescheduling of Cannabis in 2018, the Labour party expressed their support of the move. However, the party has also announced plans for further reform of the country’s Cannabis policy.
The Labour party claim in their 2019 General Election manifesto that they will “progress clinically appropriate prescription of medical Cannabis.” Although vague, the statement may prove that Labour consider the issue of medical Cannabis to be worth attention.
Jeremy Corbyn, and other Shadow Cabinet ministers including Diane Abbott, have shown support for increasing access to medical Cannabis products.
The Labour party have not commented on whether they would decriminalise, or even legalise, the use of Cannabis should they be elected tomorrow. However, both Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott were among MPs who signed a letter calling for decriminalisation, back in 2000.
What is clear from the manifesto is that the party would call for a Royal Commission into the legalisation of drugs. The party has also expressed a need to change Cannabis use from a legal issue, into a health issue. In theory, this could lead to the decriminalisation of Cannabis.
For more information on the Labour Party’s Cannabis politics, read our full profile.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have made headlines in the run-up to tomorrow’s General Election. A good portion of these headlines focused on the party’s plans to legalise Cannabis, should they be elected. But, what kind of legalisation would we see?
The Liberal Democrats have consistently advocated for extended research and access to medical Cannabis. The party supported the decision to reschedule Cannabis in 2018, but also criticised the government for their failure to act sooner.
The party claims in its 2019 manifesto that it “will allow those who feel that cannabis helps to manage their pain to do so without fear of criminal prosecution.”
The Liberal Democrat’s policy is probably the most ambitious of all the political parties. The party has been vocal about their support of a legal Cannabis system, since 2017.
Under the policy, the prohibition of Cannabis would be replaced by a legal, regulated, and taxed market. The Lib Dems claim that this kind of reform would help to create a safer environment for adults who choose to use Cannabis.
For more information on the Liberal Democrats’ Cannabis politics, read our full profile.
The Green Party
Since the party’s formation in 1990, the Greens have supported the decriminalisation of Cannabis. Although their Cannabis (and drugs) policy is similar to that of the Liberal Democrats, in some cases the Greens take things a step further.
Green Party member Julyan Levy explained that the party’s plan to legalise Cannabis cultivation would allow the NHS to have its own production and supply service for Cannabis-based medicines. According to Levy, this would vastly reduce the cost of these medicines for both the patient and the NHS.
The Green Party has a history of supporting those charged with Cannabis cultivation, when they did so for self-medication purposes. The Party’s manifesto claims that its policy will “enable medical scientists to conduct research on psychoactive drugs to develop new treatments for mental and physical illnesses.”
Similarly to the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party also has a plan to decriminalise Cannabis. And, like Labour, the party would call for a Royal Commission into the effects of drugs, in order to establish evidence-based policies. The party states that this would hopefully lead to regulated legalisation of the plant.
Cannabis Social Clubs would also be decriminalised under a Green government, allowing people to collectively cultivate and consume Cannabis, for both recreational and medicinal purposes on licensed properties. In the event of Cannabis legalisation, home cultivation would also be permitted.
For more information on the Green Party’s Cannabis politics, read our full profile.
Only One Day To Go…
Brexit may be harbouring the majority of news coverage and party speeches on the run-up to the December 12th election. Yet, legalisation advocates and would-be medical Cannabis patients continue impatiently campaigning for Cannabis policy reform.
This article looks at four of the largest political parties – with relevant Cannabis policies – in the UK. The 2019 General Election will take place on Thursday 12th December.