Liberal Democrats want cannabis to be legalized in the UK.
Soon to release their official manifesto, the Liberal Democrat party of the UK continues to speak out on the topic of cannabis legalization. Their reasoning doesn’t differ much from other countries in the world regarding legalization. Criticizing its current illegal status, members of the Lib Dem party point out the unreasonable prices people pay to use it and the risks involved.
Reasons For The Push Towards Legalization
In essence, the argument posed by those in favor of legalizing cannabis is that by regulating it, everyone benefits. Under the current law in the UK, those found possessing cannabis face a possible 5 year prison sentence, a fine, or both. Penalties increase to 14 years behind bars with a likely fine if caught growing or supplying it. It is a hard pill to swallow when other countries allow or ignore cannabis use, especially in progressive places like the UK. Recognizing the need for change, the Lib Dems have proposed their plan and expect the backing of the people.
Concern over where people get their cannabis is also an issue. Because it’s illegal, “criminal gangs” that have no interest in the health or safety of consumers, are the only way for people to obtain it. Without the regulation that legalization would provide, Lib Dems address their concern over the unintended consequences of consuming cannabis without knowing what’s in it or where it comes from.
Norman Lamb, health spokesperson for the Lib Dems, proposed the bill for legalization and so far it moves forward. His stance is that the law banning cannabis has been a complete failure and he’s confident that change will come soon.
Suggested Benefits Of Legalization
One of the main reasons the Liberal Democrats in the UK are pushing for legalization is to free law-abiding citizens from facing criminal charges relating to cannabis. Because it’s considered a Class B drug, those prosecuted for possessing it face criminal charges that could linger throughout their lives, adversely affecting job prospects, among other things. They also take into account the amount of time and energy it would save the police force, allowing them to focus their efforts on actual crime.
Lib Dems are also hopeful that with legalization, regulating where and how cannabis is obtained will provide a level of safety, knowing its free from harmful additives and not coming from the hands of organized crime. People would have a sense of security knowing they can obtain it legally and use it knowing it meets standards. Legalization, in the eyes of the Lib Dems, is the only way to ensure health risks are minimized. In a report from a study endorsed by the Lib Dems, their findings are pretty straight forward:
It claims the health risks associated with cannabis use can be more effectively managed and minimised by through a “responsibly regulated market and public health interventions rather than an unregulated criminal market and punitive criminal justice response”.
Another huge advantage of legalization would be the taxation of cannabis. It’s estimated that the taxes raised from cannabis alone could reach 1 billion pounds in just one year. Norman Lamb points out that for now, this money remains in the hands of criminals while taxpayer money is wasted in police efforts to combat organized crime. In his opinion, it only makes sense to legalize it so the money can end up in the right hands and used for the benefit of the people.
What Happens Next
Overall, the idea behind the push for legalization is that cannabis should not be a criminal issue, but an issue related to education and health. Finding ways to educate the population and provide treatment for those with drug issues is the solution to the seemingly endless problem of treating it like a crime. Using cannabis is a personal choice that has the potential to benefit the UK. If the Liberal Democrats can continue to round-up support for the movement and defeat the tired notion held by opponents that it’s harmful and necessitates criminal consequences, they may just have a shot at moving legalization forward.