Recent reports suggesting that London Mayor Sadiq Khan would decriminalize cannabis in London may have been blown out of proportion. Khan has since issued some clarification in response to media speculation regarding his plans to decriminalize the Class B drug.
Rather than going down the route of complete drug decriminalization, Khan is keen on the idea of running a trial scheme across three London boroughs: Bexley, Greenwich, and Lewisham.
The project would provide drug diversion assistance—such as counseling and speed awareness courses—as opposed to prosecution for people ages 18 to 24 who are caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis. Schemes that have been carried out in a similar fashion, in which education and support services are presented to offenders, have already been commanded by British police forces.
For example, 40% of adults managed to complete their course when they participated in the Thames Valley Drug Diversion Scheme, which is 10% above the national average for informal agreements that resolve anti-social behavior and/or minor offenses, aka “community resolution.”
Steering young adults away from the criminal justice system and, instead, in the direction of support services “has been shown to reduce reoffending.” Currently in its development phase, the limited trial’s inception is contingent on City Hall approval.
This is according to a spokesperson for the mayor, who noted that “reducing crime is the Mayor’s top priority and he will continue to explore and implement the most effective solutions to help to divert young people away from drug use and crime for good.” The spokesperson added that Khan does not possess the power to decriminalize drugs.
Khan believes that drug decriminalization could stimulate higher rates of murder, black market purchases, and substance abuse. His opinion is backed up by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who believes that Parliament should decide, as well as Andy Cook from the Center for Social Justice. “Criminal gangs will see their turnover soar. That will attract more crime, not less,” said Cook.
Thriller novel writer Alex Berenson has advised U.K. lawmakers to learn a lesson from the United States. The American author, who penned the book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, believes that the plant does more harm than good.
“Study after study backs up that states where marijuana is legalized have suffered a sharp increase in crime,” said Berenson, who received death threats after he cited a sharp increase in violence across the first-moving legal cannabis States of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
Interestingly, though, a more recent study revealed that recreational cannabis legalization in Oregon freed up resources for law enforcement to solve more violent crimes—a positive change as a result of legalizing cannabis. Further, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow announced last year that legalization did not lead to increased underage use. In the same interview, she also voiced her belief in the therapeutic potential of cannabis.
Amid the coronavirus-stimulated turbulence that’s sent the U.K. economy plummeting south—gross domestic product (GDP) was 25% less in April 2022 than it was two months prior—advocates are urging lawmakers to consider the financial benefits of cannabis decriminalization.
Although decriminalization wouldn’t legalize cannabis sales, it would surely push things in the right direction. Based on the findings of a recent study carried out by Volteface, 59% of the British population supports the prospect of cannabis legalization, whereas 75% of those surveyed said they would consume the plant if a doctor prescribed it to them.
Considering the fact that the British government currently funnels £1 billion ($1.4 billion USD) into cannabis-related prosecutions and seizures, the U.K. government stands to save a generous amount of money with decriminalization and, subsequently, legalization. A significant chunk of money is also spent treating people who suffer health problems from consuming contaminated illicit market-sold cannabis.
Tourism is another major appeal of cannabis reform. Take Colorado for example, which became the first U.S. state to legalize cannabis in 2012 with the passing of Colorado Amendment 64. By 2016, cannabis tourism in Colorado had already amassed $1 billion. According to the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), visitors who engage in such activities spend an average of $1,930 per trip.
Relaxed U.K. cannabis laws could also earn the Treasury £1.4 billion in additional taxes, which is sufficient to afford the salaries of ambulance staff and midwives across England. That’s without even mentioning the potential business and job creation that goes hand-in-hand with a legal cannabis market.
It’s safe to say that the wheels on the cannabis reform express have certainly been set in motion. As of April 2022, 47 states have legalized cannabis in some form or another. However, the plant’s federally illegal status—U.S. law categorizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug—means that businesses operating in this industry cannot conduct transactions with…
Cannabis’ former reputation as a gateway drug may have been dispelled, but it turns out that there is some element of truth to the rumor: The plant’s progressively evolving status as a normalized medicine in 37 U.S. states and a recreational substance in 18 U.S. states is prompting a wave of change across America’s statehouses….
Researchers working at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson have refined a method of ketamine use in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Specifically, the group focused on ketamine’s ability to relieve the side effects of a common treatment called Levodopa. Nicknamed “K,” “special K,” “cat valium,” and “vitamin K,” ketamine is…
Austin decriminalized cannabis possession, Vancouver is now home to some not-so-legal magic mushroom shops, and a British woman shared her life-changing medical marijuana journey. Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews. Austin Voters Pass Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Voters in Austin, Texas, have approved Proposition A, a ballot measure that decriminalizes cannabis possession and bans no-knock warrants….
Have you ever wondered whether one can be allergic to cannabis? Some may laugh at the suggestion of one being allergic to cannabis considering its widely known safety and efficacy. However, like most substances, there may be some individuals who are allergic to it. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than…
The worldwide skincare industry, which is projected to inflate to $189.3 billion USD by 2025, could soon be merging more closely with…
There’s no denying the fact that CBD is dominating the wellness landscape. Increasing awareness of the cannabinoid’s medicinal effects is going hand-in-hand…