Luxembourg Legalising Cannabis

Little Luxembourg has long been best known as the poster-child for everything wrong with the EU, the home of the European Court of Justice and a controversial tax haven that churns out disproportionate numbers of corrupt and incompetent European Commission Presidents. Now Luxembourg is set to blaze a trail of a different kind…

Luxembourg’s health minister Etienne Schneider is leading new proposals to fully legalise cannabis after concluding that “the drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work” and “forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people”. It will become the first European country to give the green light to cannabis to such an extent, although hopes are high that the Boris Government may also be open to a switch after hiring two high-profile advocates of legalisation himself. Downing Street has tried to stub out speculation but it has not been entirely blunted…

One German lawyer said about Luxembourg’s move: “The social pressure will be so high that if you have legalization in one of the EU member states, soon that will be discussed seriously in the other ones.” Precisely…

Teen Cannabis Use Falls When It’s Legal

A new study from the US has found that teen cannabis use dropped by an average of 10% in states where recreational use of the drug is legalised, compared to those where it remains prohibited. Legalisation literally decimated teen use of the drug…

The study found that it became harder for teens to get their hands on the substance when it was sold from licensed dispensaries, where ID is required by law, as illegal dealers were largely put out of business. The Adam Smith Institute today called for cannabis to be sold in pharmacies to help cut crime, they tell Guido:

“Cannabis legalisation would not only wreck the criminal gangs that are fuelling knife crime and exploring young children – it was also provide the opportunity to limit underage drug use. Drug dealers don’t ask for ID. It’s good to see yet more evidence that legal cannabis markets cut down the number of kids buying weed.

Every second the Government refuses to change its failed approach, more kids are getting hold of high strength skunk and being exploited by criminals. It’s time to give the green light to legal cannabis.”

To cut teen drug use, legalise it.

61% of Brits Support Legalising Cannabis

Polling for think tank Volteface in conjunction with the Evening Standard has found that 61% of Brits with a view support legalising, taxing, and regulating the cannabis market. Supermajorities of the British public think that “taking an estimated £2.5 billion a year out of the hands of criminals”, “creating tax revenues of £1 billion”, and  “allow[ing] authorities to strictly regulate and label the strength of cannabis sold and limit the potency” are compelling reasons to move to legalisation.

Including those with no view, the poll found that 47% of respondents support the legalisation of cannabis, 30% oppose legalisation, and 23% neither support or oppose or are undecided. The most compelling argument against legalisation concern that “concern that legalisation would increase the numbers of people driving whilst under the influence.” After almost every Tory leadership contender admitted to having ingested cannabis and harder substances, it’s probably time to have a rethink about the UK’s drug laws…

Centre for Medical Cannabis Launched

Yesterday saw the official launch of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis at an event held at the Academy of Medical Sciences. The centre brings together clinicians, pharmacists, patients, campaigners and policy experts. Technically medicinal cannabis has been legalised for prescription, but only in very tightly controlled circumstances…

Steve Moore, who was one of the policy gurus behind the Big Society, has put together a board of serious people from the medical research field and people who have been involved in the area from a patient focus. His team brings them in touch with people who know their way around politics and government.*

Backed by the philanthropist Paul Birch, the CMC has produced a credible model with 30 immediate policy recommendations for the development UK’s first medicinal cannabis regime. They have produced a report and 30 recommendations are both evidence-based and politically deliverable, as they seek to influence the design of new regulatory system.

The CMC argues that

“… the UK needs a system that strikes the proper balance between choice and safety, whilst allowing for future changes as lessons are learnt. As such, our report covers the fundamental policy choices that are necessary when devising an access regime and the trade-offs policy-makers and legislators must make. It explores the particular constraints and preferences that will influence what regime is workable in the UK. This includes healthcare culture, public attitudes and medical options – cannabis based medical products (CBMP) definitions, access routes; modes of consumption; applicable conditions, etc.

The CMC’s report is informed by contributions from patient groups, and others, who will determine the outcomes that any new system must deliver against. The report also draws lessons from other jurisdictions, and engages with clinicians and others, to define what types of medical access are in demand, in order to propose a model that suits the UK context.”

Download the “Blueprint” report.

*Our editor is on the advisory board.

Medical Marijuana Gets Green Light

Today the UK finally joined Canada, 31 US states, Australia, Israel, and many European countries as medicinal marijuana got the green light. It’s a victory for campaigners including the Adam Spliff Institute who have long campaigned for this change and celebrated with an accordingly themed Twitter makeover. Personal liberty is the real winner…

Ironically, despite the use of medical marijuana in the UK only being legalised today, the UK is already the world’s biggest clinical cannabis producer, with 95 tonnes of marijuana produced in the UK in 2016 for medicinal and scientific use, accounting for 44.9% of the world’s total. The UK is also the world’s largest (legitimate) exporter of the drug, accounting for almost 70% of global exports in 2016. Britain’s stoners won’t believe what they’ve been missing out on…

In fact the majority of the British population still feel that the bar is too high, as a new VolteFace/Populus poll revealed overwhelming support for full legalisation of the drug. 59% of people surveyed strongly supported or tended to support recreational legalisation of cannabis, compared to just 31% who opposed the idea. The UN estimates that the global recreational and medicinal marijuana market will be worth $100 billion by 2020. Forget tech startups, it’s high time the UK got on board with legalisation and embraced the ganjapreneur revolution…

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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”

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