By Roland Sebestyén
As claims continue to circulate that the UK police have essentially decriminalised cannabis over the last few years, it is hard to see the point of waiting any longer: the UK should hold a referendum over recreational use and decriminalisation when the pandemic is over.
We’ve all known for a very long time that our streets are full of cannabis, whether it is deemed illegal or not; however, instead of putting the drug into the hands of licenced experts, cannabis smokers are forced to rely on criminal drug dealers.
Apart from the fact that the current (recreational) cannabis policy only helps these criminals, not having a regulated market could, in fact, endanger cannabis users – among whom you can find a lot of young people and teenagers.
The gangs, who tend to exploit children when dealing with their products, often supply users mostly with low-quality, synthetic or diluted cannabis, with unknown components.
I think it is time that the UK government, and end this practice once and for all – or at least give the public the chance to have their say.
The UK should hold a cannabis referendum sooner rather than later!
While the government may have a lot on their plate – with the possibility of a third coronavirus wave is coming and Scotland the SNP an overwhelming majority and authority to start working on a second Indyref in the next few years –, creating an open cannabis market in the country should be a top priority before the next general election.
As we stated in an opinion article a few weeks ago, cannabis should be deemed a health question rather than a political one.
While cannabis is consistently reported to be the most popular drug globally, the use of the drug is still stigmatised. Meanwhile, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are widely accepted with the substances often being used daily.
However, if politicians reckon it’s a political question, then what is the reason behind not turning to the public for a decision that could have an impact on millions of citizens?
Also, while at the moment we are yet to experience the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy is on the right track, experts believe that 2022 and the years ahead will be tough as the government needs to fill the massive financial hole left by the ongoing furlough scheme.
In my opinion, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the government, in general, would be making a big mistake by not considering the creation of a future, regulated and licenced cannabis market to aid the economy after the shock of Covid.
It is hard to believe that more evidence is needed to make cannabis use legal, or at least refer the issue to the public – there are dozens of studies and surveys being published out there every single day concluding that yes, cannabis legalisation does actually work.
The public deserves a chance to decide what direction it wants to head in the next few years.
Oh, and during the campaign, just imagine for a second, organisations and advocates could speak up and educate the public about the drug – people would be told about all the highs and lows, the advantages and disadvantages.
Even if the UK decided not to legalise/decriminalise cannabis, the impact could be immense.
Millions would better understand the science and economy behind the drug, creating a safer country for all of us.
Wouldn’t that be something?