The British Government has announced it has ‘no intention’ of making cannabis legal in the UK.
Despite the growing body of evidence showing that cannabis is safe, possession of weed in the UK will remain punishable with jail. As a class B drug, possession carries a 5 year prison sentence.
In its new crackdown on drugs, the Home Office announced that this will remain.
The Mail Online reports:
Experts have slammed the Home Office’s controversial decision, describing it as a ‘missed opportunity’ to legalise the herb.
But ministers pointed to various studies that have shown cannabis to be detrimental to human health, with significant links to schizophrenia.
Such worrying associations have existed for decades, and were responsible the decision to reclassify the drug to a Class B nine years ago.In recent years, Spain, South Africa, Uruguay and several states in the US have made cannabis legal for recreational use.
Pressure has been increasing on the UK to follow suit and update its drug policy, with many citing weed’s medicinal properties.
But Ian Hamilton, a drug researcher based at York University, told MailOnline the UK’s updated stance shows it’s falling behind.
He said: ‘The government has missed an opportunity to provide less harmful ways of people accessing and using cannabis.
‘The UK is falling behind many other countries who are adopting progressive policies towards drug use.
‘These countries have embraced the evidence and recognise that punishing people who use drugs does not improve their health and adds to social inequality.’
Cannabis is currently a Class B drug in the UK, and anyone found in possession can face up to five years in prison.
Selling the drug can get someone 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. The same punishment exists for giving it to friends for free.
Having this on a criminal record can restrict employment opportunities and prevent travel to countries like the US.
In the Home Office’s annual drug strategy released today, which focuses on all substances, not just cannabis, it said: ‘We have no intention of decriminalising drugs.
‘Drugs are illegal because scientific and medical analysis has shown they are harmful to human health.’
Despite being illegal, the latest figures available showed that more than two million people in England and Wales smoked cannabis in 2016.
Mr Hamilton said that regulating cannabis would allow the millions of people who use it the opportunity to know what they are smoking.