Could Cannabis Now Be Legalised in the UK Due to The Popularity of CBD?
With the growing worldwide movement towards the legalisation of cannabis, could legal marijuana be on the horizon for the United Kingdom?
Worldwide the growing movement to legalise cannabis is gaining speed rapidly, but could the UK be next? Recently, Canada made a move to completely legalise and regulate the cannabis industry, following in the footsteps of several American states. At the time of writing, recreational marijuana was legal in sixteen US states, and medicinal marijuana products available in twenty-nine. However, marijuana is still illegal at a federal level in the United States.
In the following article, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the current legal status of cannabis in the United Kingdom, the difference between CBD and marijuana, and how other countries around the world are managing cannabis legalisation and decriminalisation.
Class B to Class C and back again!
From 2004 through to 2009, cannabis was classed as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However, in 2009 that decision was reversed, and cannabis was again bumped up to a Class B drug under the act, putting it on the same level as speed, ketamine, mephedrone, and different amphetamines.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for a variety of different purposes. Still, during the 1930s and 1940s, almost every country in the world deemed it as a dangerous narcotic and added it to prohibited drug lists.
The research into the potential health benefits of cannabis is a billion-dollar industry, with researchers around the world racing to unlock the plant's hidden secrets. Various studies have shown that cannabis could potentially assist with seizures, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, skin conditions, and much more.
What’s the difference between hemp and cannabis, and where does CBD fit into the story?
Hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis sativa plant family. While both plants look and smell remarkably similar, they are each unique. Marijuana is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the ‘euphoric high’ many people experience when they consume marijuana.
Hemp is low in THC (usually containing less than 0.3%) and rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and non-psychotropic compound, which many people use for potential therapeutic benefits. CBD products usually contain no THC and will not get you high in any way. People worldwide at record numbers are incorporating CBD into their daily lives, and there are even companies in the UK selling DIY CBD products that you can make at home.
The emergence of CBD products in the United Kingdom
Look anywhere these days, and you’re going to see someone advertising CBD products. Hemp products such as hemp seeds and hemp oil have been available worldwide for years, but the emergence of CBD products has created a booming new industry.
One of the first ‘high street’ companies in the United Kingdom to introduce CBD products was Holland and Barrett. After boasting record sales, they have greatly increased the number of different CBD products that they stock.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence from CBD users that believe CBD helps them with a variety of different medical conditions. Still, more research and clinical trials are required before we can make any definitive claims about the medicinal properties of CBD.
Could the UK follow the success of US and Canadian cannabis markets?
In 2019, Canadians purchased over $1.2 billion worth of legal cannabis products. Although the number fell short of estimates, they finished the year strong, and most estimates put 2020 cannabis sales at closer to $2.8 billion. Canada has taken a low tax approach to cannabis sales, hoping to apply pressure to the black market cannabis industry and make legal cannabis more accessible to more citizens.
In the United States, cannabis is legalised on a state-by-state basis while still being illegal at a federal level. It has led to a very ad-hoc system, but many states benefit from the increased tax revenue associated with recreational and medicinal cannabis sales.
California, one of the original states to legalise cannabis, heavily taxes each part of the cannabis industry, from growers and cultivators through to distribution and sales. However, this has led to a flourishing ‘grey market’ in cannabis sales. The high price of legal cannabis and the readily accessible ‘grey market’ cannabis has made it harder for authorities to close the black market.
What do the experts say about the potential legal cannabis market in the UK? Think tank Adam Smith Institute believes that a similarly regulated cannabis market in the UK could generate £7bn per annum. Money generated from sales is one aspect of legalising cannabis. Still, you also need to look at the savings associated with the cost of policing cannabis laws, prosecuting offenders, and also housing offenders.
It isn’t just revenue that legalised cannabis could have an influence on either. There are various pharmaceutical companies worldwide that are investigating different cannabis-based medications. One of them, Sativex, is used for particularly hard to treat conditions such as Dravits Syndrome.
Cannabis Legalisation in the UK – Conclusion
There is a growing trend worldwide to decriminalize or legalise this natural compound, not only from a health and wellness perspective but also a monetary perspective, with states and countries generating millions in taxes, fees, and licensing. There are various positives that can be taken from the legalisation of cannabis, including additional revenue from cannabis taxes being pumped into other government-funded health programs.
If you’re passionate about cannabis legalisation, then please sign petitions and support organisations that are fighting to legalise cannabis for all citizens. Cannabis legalisation needs to be supported by the public, the medical and health community, as well as have political support. Without the support of people, cannabis legalisation faces a long uphill battle.
Please note that this article was written by a 3rd-party author who is a specialist on the topic of CBD, hemp and cannabis. Any information or recommendations contained within this article, are independent to the opinion of RUDERALEX CBD and our employees. We make no claims for any of our products, please read our disclaimer for additional information.