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UK predicted to legalise weed in five to ten years
Photography by Thought Catalog, via Unsplash

The UK is predicted to legalise weed in five to ten years

A group of MPs are keen to relax the law following a visit to Canada, where cannabis became legal in 2018

The UK’s drug laws have always been draconian, but recent drug admissions by MPs combined with Canada’s legalisation of weed have highlighted just how outdated our policies are. Now, a group of MPs have seen sense, declaring their support for the legalisation of cannabis.

Labour’s David Lammy, Liberal Democrat Normal Lamb, and the Tories’ Jonathan Djanogly have predicted that marijuana will be fully legalised in the UK within five to ten years, following a visit to Canada as part of a Radio 1 Newsbeat documentary, Legalising Cannabis: Canada’s Story

Although the Lib Dems already support legalising weed, Lammy’s backing goes against Labour’s official stance, which supports legalisation for medicinal purposes, but not for recreational use. “I want the market legalised, regulated and taken away from crime gangs”, Lammy said. “For young people not to be criminalised by use and properly educated. I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organised in this country.”

Although agreeing with colleagues that we will eventually legalise the drug, Conservative MP Djanogly told the BBC the UK still has “a lot to learn before the legalisation of recreational cannabis”.

The MPs’ prediction comes after the trio visited Toronto to learn more about what it’s like when a country legalises weed. Despite leading the way when it comes to drug policy, Canada’s experience hasn’t been without hiccups, with the country quickly running out of cannabis, sending buyers back to the black market.

Cannabis is currently a Class B drug in the UK, meaning anyone caught with it could face up to five years in prison (unless you’re an MP, of course). Though attitudes towards the drug have been relaxing in recent months, with police laying off on arrests, public support growing, and medical marijuana officially becoming a thing

Square as always, the government told Newsbeat it “has no intention of changing the law”, with a Home Office spokesman stating: “The legalisation of these substances would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery they can cause to families and society.”

Although given parliament’s turbulent stance on the porn block, it’s not inconceivable that their drug party line will also change. In the meantime, look back on the history of the UK’s relationship with medical marijuana here.