A cross-party group of MPs in the United Kingdom said that cannabis could be legal in the country within five years. This was after they took a “fact-finding” trip to Canada to know more about its legal cannabis industry.
Canada fully legalized cannabis in October 2018, becoming the second country in the world to do so. Uruguay was the first, having legalized weed in 2013.
Many other states and governments are looking at Canada as the blueprint for their future cannabis policies and reforms. Everyone is trying to see whether Canada succeeds or fails in its huge legislative leap.
Available over the counter in 5 years
Labour’s David Lammy and Liberal Democrats party’s Sir Norman Lamb both think that the class B drug will be available over the counter by 2025.
Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly also visited Canada together with Lammy and Sir Norman to study the country’s legal cannabis market.
Lammy’s pro-legalization position reflects a shift in his Labour party’s official stance on marijuana. He said that he wants the cannabis market legalized, regulated, as well as taken away from the hands of crime organizations.
According to Lammy, he wants to see the potency of cannabis reduced and the drug labeled and properly organized. His change of heart was welcomed by some within his party, including Jeff Smith MP, the co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform.
Smith explained that Labour needs to be bold in tackling the issue of legalizing cannabis so he welcomes Lammy’s comments. Lammy, he said, has been out to see the evidence for himself and was able to reach a sensible conclusion. Smith added that he hopes more politicians will do the same thing.
Furthermore, he pointed out that there would be significant benefits if cannabis is legalized and regulated in the same manner as alcohol. Smith, who co-chairs the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reform, contended that they would stop wasting police time and resources if they stop criminalizing people unnecessarily.
Lammy and Sir Norman personally funded their own flights and accommodations for their Canada trip.
Sir Norman had previously led the Lib Dem’s decision to support cannabis legalization. During the trip, he openly took weed and sampled a cannabis product containing the psychoactive compound THC.
No, more like 10 years
Djanogly, however, has a longer estimate. He believes that it will take the UK 10 to 15 years before it will legalize the sale of cannabis.
Djanogly said that they still have a lot to learn before legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. He estimated that the full ban on the drug would more likely be lifted in a decade.
The Tory MP said that constructing legal cannabis factories in the UK could help boost employment in former industrial cities.
He admitted that he doesn’t know about the scale involved, but he noted that since cannabis is currently about half a per cent of GDP, it must be generating jobs somewhere.
The research trip of the MPs was organized by Volte Face, a UK harm reduction group.