The marijuana news item that all marijuana enthusiasts are waiting for, regardless of what country they are from, is nationwide legalization. From a cultural and economic standpoint, that is the overwhelming issue in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Unfortunately for Britain, national legalization may face tougher obstacles. The key problem is the lack of a federalist structure in UK government where state legislatures can drive national policy through conflicts in criminal and civil law.
Despite the considerable public interest in cannabis legalization in the UK, the political and cultural wheels seem to be turning much more slowly than in the United States. Nevertheless, there is activity afoot.
No War on Drugs
Unlike the United States, Great Britain never launched a “war on drugs” campaign to incarcerate thousands over simple possession. As a result, the cultural urgency surrounding cannabis legalization never took hold in the same way.
Wars beget protests and political outcries most of the time, even if they aren’t contests between rival militaries. As a result, societal attention never focused on UK legalization efforts in the same way they did in the US. This has led to a delay in legalization.
In contrast to the “peace” on drugs in the UK, the medical marijuana industry has seen quite a bit more progress. Charlotte Caldwell’s Canadian expedition to obtain cannabis oil to treat her 12-year-old son’s seizures made national news when the medicine was confiscated. It shined a bright light on the nation’s confusing policies regarding both legalization and legitimate medical uses of cannabis. Although it didn’t do much to advance the general legalization push in the UK.
The Road Ahead
There can be no reasonable doubt the UK will follow where the US leads when it comes to legalization. Although Canada has legalized marijuana nationwide, historically, Canada hasn’t been as big an influence on UK policy as the US has. This is mainly because the economic factors surrounding Canada/Britain trade haven’t risen to the same stature as those between the US and Britain.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that nearly 60% of Brits support the legalization of marijuana, and not because they expect the government to pursue taxation as an alternative to possession crimes.
Legalization is inevitable because enforcement efforts will become more expensive and voters are certain to tire of the flimsy justifications for criminalization.
One interesting recent development has been the arrival of foreign suppliers in the UK market. The sale and distribution of recreational and medicinal marijuana by experienced and professional organizations and businesses will further drive public opinion in the direction of legalization in the UK. CBD products are among the most popular so far, which makes sense considering the international growth of health-related products and their coverage in the media.