Where do UK Political Parties Stand on Cannabis Reform?

Where do our political parties stand on cannabis?

  • Only 2 parties openly support legalisation of cannabis
  • Left-leaning parties favour legalisation, while right-wing parties oppose any form of law change

With less than two weeks to go before we head to the polls, we have laid out where each party stand on the issue of cannabis legalisation. The prohibition of cannabis has been a plague on our society, leading to X amount of people being incarcerated for their choice of medicine.

However, new polls are suggesting more and more Brits are open to the idea of reforming the law on cannabis. The Independent found that 47% of the Brits they surveyed were in favour of cannabis legalisation, with a further 14% remaining undecided. That only leaves 39% of people who oppose the end of a failed war on cannabis.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.” – Liberal Democrats

Last year, a YouGov poll found that a massive 87% of people support legalising cannabis if it has medicinal value. That’s more support than Brexit received. If cannabis does have medicinal value, which we believe the volumes of scientific research into the plant have shown, then clearly it has the support of a massive

If nearly half of the country want to legalise cannabis for recreational, and nearly 90% for medicinal, then surely, in a democracy, we should listen to the voice and will of the people?

This guide will help you to make sure that your vote is not wasted on a party who opposes allowing people the freedom to choose their medicine or how they spend their free time.

  • Conservatives

The conservatives are currently in power and slightly ahead in the polls. It is more likely to see a Conservative majority than any other form of Government. What does this mean for those who use cannabis medicinally?

Well, Theresa May is entirely opposed to any notion of legalising cannabis, even for medicinal use.

Speaking to the BBC, a Tory spokesperson regurgitated archaic reefer madness nonsense: “There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities. We have no plans to change the law.”

That sounds like a resounding rejection of cannabis law reform. The current PM even went as far as spreading fake news by claiming cannabis can lead to heroin addiction and suicide (even though studies have found cannabis to be a great way to get addicts off hard drugs and an even better anti-depressant).

  • Labour

The Labour party have also seemingly rejected the idea of cannabis legalisation with a complete omission of the subject in their 122-page manifesto. A Labour Party spokesperson also claimed that the party still “remains strongly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis,” in a response to the Lib Dem manifesto launch.

However, Jeremy Corbyn’s personal stance on medicinal cannabis is far more positive. In 2016, the new leader of Labour excited patients across the country by saying he “would decriminalise medicinal uses of cannabis.”

The veteran left-winger added that there “has to be an intelligent approach to” the clearly failing drug-war, despite the fact he doesn’t take any drugs personally.

Corbyn has been consistently voted in a way which is coherent to what he says. While his party has made cannabis legalisation a priority in this election, it is safe to assume that if elected, there could be significant change in the UK’s approach to drug law reform.

How much control Corbyn would be allowed over drug reform if elected is unknown, but there is certainly a greater chance under Labour than Theresa May.

  • Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have come out swinging with a powerful manifesto that directly addresses the fact that cannabis prohibition is damaging our society.

In the manifesto, the left-leaning party laid into previous Governments who have ignored one of the most damaging policies in the UK. The manifesto states: “Successive governments have ceded total control of a significant public health problem to organised crime.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.”

Their stance would be to allow and regulate licensed shops to sell cannabis to over-18s, the right to grow the medicinal herb at home, and lends it support to the UK Cannabis Social Club model.

Julian Huppert, a Lib Dem candidate explained to Buzzfeed, “The prohibitionist approach costs a huge amount of money, means we criminalise a large amount of people, and increases the harm.

“We spend a lot of money making people’s lives worse. That cannot be correct.”

This is a strong stance for the Liberal Democrats to take, although it is not a new policy direction for the party. They have consistently backed law reform surrounding cannabis, becoming the first party to officially support legalisation back in 2016.

However, memories of the Lib Dem betrayal of students in 2010 (campaigning nearly solely on the promise to oppose and remove university tuition fees, only to then jump in bed with the Tories at the first glance of power) are still fresh in many voters’ minds.

Can you trust the party to make good on their promises, or will they throw their voters under the bus again?

  • The Greens

The Green Party have been a strong and consistent supporter of the decriminalisation of cannabis, ever since they formed back in 1990.

Their official stance on cannabis is: “Cannabis would be removed from the 1971 Misuse of drugs act.

The party use case studies from around the world to support their position: “The possession, trade and cultivation of cannabis would be immediately decriminalised, roughly following the Dutch model.

“Small-scale possession of drugs for personal use would be decriminalised. The starting point would be advice to policing authorities to caution rather than prosecute for offences of drug possession for personal use and to refer offenders to the health-care service.”

There is no mention of cannabis law reform in their 2017 manifesto, although it is safe to assume that a Green Parliament would see cannabis legalised, at least for medicinal purposes, in the UK.

  • UKIP

It is unclear where the party stand on cannabis legalisation.

Nigel Farage, perhaps surprisingly, threw in his support for law reform in 2014, telling The Telegraph: ” I’ve never taken [drugs] myself, I hope I never do, but I just have a feeling that the criminalisation of all these drugs is actually not really helping British society.”

“I think we should look at it and if ever there was a subject where we needed a genuine Royal Commission – not to kick it in the long grass – but a genuine Royal Commission to examine Portugal, to examine perhaps what has happened in one or two sates in America and in Switzerland, this subject would be it.”

Paul Nuttall, according to The Mirror had previously estimated that “cannabis sales could raise up to £1bn ($1.3bn) a year in tax and would reduce the burden on prisons, the police and the NHS,” so maybe it’s not all doom-and-gloom in the right.

Whichever way you decide to vote, cannabis legalisation is only one element of our society. While it may be the most important issue to desperate patients, it is part of a tapestry of politics. But we can look to see if our Parties govern on unbiased facts, or whether they will ignore blatant truths to push their own ideology on us.

Which way will you be voting? Has a Party’s stance on cannabis persuaded you to change your stance?

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