Sir Ed Davey wants to legalise cannabis

Cannabis could be legalised in the UK Credit: Pexels: RDNE Stock Project

If elected, the Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to take ‘skunk’ off  UK streets by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis.

The manifesto also promises to free up police time, reduce court backlogs and tackle prison overcrowding by diverting people arrested for the possession of drugs for personal use into treatment where appropriate.

However, Sir Ed Davey (along with Labour) has also lent his support to a phased smoking ban proposed in the government’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill. This bill makes selling tobacco to anyone born after January 1 2009, illegal.

Will England ban cigarettes?

The Bill was presented in the hope that it would be passed before the general election, but the government ran out of time. Under the new smoking law, restrictions will be applied to the sale of cigarettes in the UK rather than the actual act of smoking them.  It is intended to raise the legal age of purchasing cigarettes – currently 18 – by one year yearly.

This would effectively result in anyone born during or after 2009 never having the legal right to purchase. Although those who already have the right to purchase will not be affected, there will be strict limits on potency.

While some, including members of the medical profession, fully support this proposal, others are concerned that it will create an unregulated ‘black market’.

A regulated cannabis market in the UK

When challenged, the Liberal Democrat leader insisted that his support for legalising cannabis was not ‘inconsistent’ with backing a phased smoking ban.  He said, “I’m banning skunk because that’s very, very harmful to people’s health. And cigarette smoking, everyone sees, it’s really clear it’s very, very harmful.”

This came after the public questioned him during a BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in.

He also confirmed that the Party’s policy was to bring in a regulated market for cannabis, so more potent and dangerous forms like skunk were not available.

When pressed on his views on legalising other drugs, for example magic mushrooms, he said the party wanted “evidence-based health policies”. Asked if he ever smoked cannabis himself, he shared, “On a few occasions at university, but this was very seldom.”

Neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party plans to legalise drugs. However, the Green Party’s manifesto promises a National Commission to agree on an evidence-based approach to reforming UK drug laws. In this way, the country can “move towards a legally regulated market.”

Conversely, Reform UK has pledged to introduce a new offence of Substantial Possession of Drugs, which would carry heavy fines and mandatory life sentences for drug dealing.

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Written by

Donna Williams

Marketer, copywriter, storyteller and President of Samaritans in Spain. They say variety is the spice of life and I am definitely loving life!