By Roland Sebestyén
When the Green Party Co-Leader and candidate for the Mayor of London Siân Berry announced that she would deprioritise cannabis policing if elected, only a very few eyebrows got raised as everybody knew the race was between Labour and the Conservative Party.
In the end, Sadiq Khan, who pledged to launch a review into cannabis decriminalisation, won his second term.
While the government warned Mr Khan that controlling drugs is a matter for the UK government, the Mayor is effectively the Police and Crime Commissioner in London and has the power to instruct Met officers not to arrest individuals for personal use and possession of cannabis.
However, regardless of the review in London, as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was against cannabis decriminalisation, it is very hard to see the party demand for a thorough cannabis policy reform in the UK soon.
So what if we the Green Party end up being the country’s green party?
According to recent studies, there are more than 1.4 million severely ill people in the UK who rely on medical cannabis.
Although medical cannabis has been legal in the country since 2018, the vast majority of patients purchase their medicines from the streets.
Instead of making the medicine widely accessible, for some reasons we’re happy to keep the black market afloat. You’re welcome, we’d say if it wasn’t a life or death question for some, such as Billy Caldwell.
When it comes to recreational or adult use, did you know that black men in the UK are around 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched for suspected cannabis possession than their white counterparts?
It is not a drug issue, is it? You’d think it’s about the drug, but I think it’s about politics.
Just have a look at the US, as an example. The economies in those states where cannabis is legal are booming; also people are said to turn away from alcohol and turn to cannabis, which resulted in the average sale of wine and beer dropping significantly.
However, as long as no party with actual influence and power pledge to support the cause, the patients and all those organisations and campaigners who work all around the clock to create a safe, regulated market, cannabis will always be looked at as the evil; the gateway drug of all.
This is where the Green Party should enter the game and represent millions of Brits in the parliament and the streets.
It’s not too late
Climate change and environmental emergency are important issues, and thankfully more people in the UK and around the globe realise that something must be done to save the planet for the next generation.
However, let’s say the Green Party is not happy to be the third and fourth choice in the general elections anymore.
If they became the green party, I could see them winning dozens of more seats in 2024.
If the average electorate who is suffering from mental health issues or severe health conditions and needs cannabis to mitigate the symptoms found out that there is a party that works for them, I can see the Green Party inhale a few million more votes, easily.
If the average electorate who is targeted by the police because of their skin colour found out that there is a party that works for them, I can see the Green Party getting a few more million votes, easily.
There are massive groups in the UK without proper representation – those who rely on cannabis is one of them.
The Green Party should go all-in for those millions of people who need their voice to be heard; for all those Billy Caldwells out there.
With proper representation, a conversation about the plant’s benefits, and more importantly, the education of the public would finally begin.
The Green Party should lead the way and be the green party from the future.