CANNABIS supporting British politicians believe that within five years it could be decriminalized in the U.K.
Speaking at Cannabis Europa, Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) Norman Lamb said the last time the House of Commons voted on the issue – in December last year – there were 52 votes in favor. He said: “It could happen, and it could happen really quickly. I don’t believe it will take much for the main Parties to shift their position.
“With the legalization of the medical cannabis in the U.K. last year, it’s being normalized. While there’s a very slim chance this will happen before the next election, we may well see a shift in the manifestos of the political parties.”
Canada The Template For The U.K.
Of the three main political parties the Liberal Democrats have traditionally been in favour of decriminalisation, while Mr Lamb’s Labour Party and the ruling Conservative Party are opposed.
“We will watch closely to see what happens in Canada and then after five years, on the basis of evidence we have seen, take a look at it again for the U.K. Also, on the panel at Cannabis Europa was Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, and he also believes it could happen in the same time frame.”
“Cannabis is moving into the mainstream and for the national debate to widen further one of the two main political parties will need to come out in support of decriminalization,” he continued.
BBC Heavyweight Chides U.K. Government
Chairing the debate on ‘Cross-Party Cannabis’ on the second day Of Cannabis Europa was Andrew Neil, of the BBC, who wondered why there had only been three NHS prescriptions since medial cannabis was made available last November.
The regulations stipulate just a few conditions for which cannabis can be prescribed, although the rules allow clinicians to prescribe medication through a ‘special’ licence system for other conditions. He wondered whether the regulations may have been framed in such as was way as to be the ‘smallest change the government thought it could get away with’.
Mr Lamb described the ‘glacial’ prescription situation as a ‘scandal’, saying that a public debate had led to the shift in the Government’s position, but this is not working through NHS.
‘Glacial’ Pace for U.K. Prescriptions
He said: “There is growing public frustration at the glacial process and the fact that families are having to go private, costing them thousands of pounds, that they cannot afford that. If there’s further explosion on press interest, then the Government may well be forced to act,” he said.
Sue Mountstevens, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset, was heckled by the delegates at the conference in the Southbank Centre, London, when she said cannabis is a gateway drug to more lethal substances.
Mr Lamb said there is no evidence this is the case and recounting situation where a street dealer offered heroin as a substitute to a cannabis user, he said: “A street seller has no interest in the cannabis user’s welfare, and recreational decriminalization will remove the link between cannabis and other drugs.”