With so much activity in the press and medical circles about CBD, cannabis and THC we look at how cannabis use has evolved in the UK
Since 1928, cannabis has been illegal. Cannabis is classed as a Class B drug, meaning it’s labelled as less ‘hard’ than drugs such as cocaine, ketamine and cocaine — it also means that the punishment for possession of it is less extreme.
It is illegal to grow or process cannabis in the UK. Being caught can come with a five year maximum sentence, along with a maximum fine. However, supplying the plant for drug dealing purposes can land you up to 14 years in prison. Even being in possession of small amounts may result in a fine.
Prosecution rates for being in possession of cannabis is 15% in Devon and Cornwall, whilst Durham police stating that they’re not even targeting recreational users.
However, some police forces within the UK are more laid back than others. Prosecution rates for being in possession of cannabis is 15% in Devon and Cornwall, whilst Durham police stating that they’re not even targeting recreational users.
This suggests a different attitude in recent times. There is increasing parliamentary pressure about decriminalising cannabis, not to mention the change in strategy for many police forces. This change in attitude could be attributed to a couple of different reasons.
Many states in North America are now leading by example in their decriminalisation of drugs – namely Alaska, California, Colorado, Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Washington, being the capital city, was a huge statement about the current trend.
The second reason why the UK may appear to be on the same trend, is the legality and rise of use of CBD oil. CBD oil is treated for many different health conditions, and whilst the psychoactive THC compound is removed, the public and authorities are becoming more familiar with the use of cannabis products.
In what respect is cannabis legal in the UK?
It may surprise you to know that cannabis seeds are entirely legal to buy and sell in the UK. It’s incredibly easy to buy cannabis seeds online, with no extra red tape or threat of the law. Companies like Seedsman are selling breeders and seeds, along with a plethora of peripheral cannabis products.
But whilst many police forces are taking a relaxed attitude towards growing small amounts of cannabis for personal use, it still remains illegal, and very much punishable if it looks like there’s an intent to sell.
Cannabis seeds are also used for a multitude of reasons beyond growing weed. For example, it can be used as bird food, fishing bait, collecting and so on.
In 2018, doctors were finally given the nod for prescribing cannabis products for medical use. This was a huge step towards legality, as this was the first step in the case of North America. Whilst there are only a certain few conditions that can be treated legally with cannabis, this is expected to be expanded.
Currently, the Conservative government is still opposed to the recreational use of cannabis, although the Tories were, in fact, the party to approve medicinal use. Labour, on the other hand, have often approached the issue with much more relaxed attitudes.
Jeremy Corbyn, along with other members of the Shadow Cabinet, has expressed support for increasing the availability of medical cannabis products on the NHS, whilst Labour MP David Lammy has predicted future cannabis policy reform. Certainly some political voices expect cannabis to be legal within the next 10 years, if not five.