By / September 9, 2019

UK marijuana legalization supported by Londoners

There are technical reports providing historical perspectives and comparisons of various approaches to the legal status of marijuana in the UK. Furthermore, in addition to the concerns surrounding the medical uses of marijuana, they also contain information about the impact that marijuana legalization could have on UK adolescents.

Among the respondents to a recent London poll, 63% spoke out for the legalization of marijuana consumption and for the introduction of its legislative status. Only 19% of respondents oppose this idea. Also, a total of 47% of respondents supported legalization in London, while 30% opposed it.

Marijuana Consumption
63% of London’s residents spoke out for the legalization of marijuana consumption. (Source)

Londoners overwhelmingly support the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use

Carried out by the agency Survation at the start of a major investigation into cannabis reform, this poll is the first public opinion test since medical cannabis became legal in the UK last November.

It points to a change from the poll carried out by YouGov last summer, in which public opinion was evenly split.

This easing of public attitudes towards cannabis comes in the wake of Canada’s legalization in October 2018. Canada was the first western nation to legalize and the second country after Uruguay, which legalized cannabis in 2013. In the US, 10 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use, starting with Colorado and Washington in 2012. New York, New Jersey, and Illinois are well advanced to follow suit. Currently, 20% of Americans live in states where cannabis is legal.

The situation of cannabis in Europe

Furthermore, Europe is shifting too. Spain now allows private use, while Portugal decriminalized possession. Dutch coffee shops continue to sell cannabis and Luxembourg looks to be the first EU country with fully legal cannabis.

Cannabis is the UK’s most widely used illicit drug, with an estimated of 3 million users. Overall, it is a market worth an estimated $3 billion, with potential tax revenues of $1.2 billion, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Our poll looked into the legalization impacts and asked respondents which arguments they found compelling.

The key findings were: 

  • Economic factors had the most sway countrywide: 72% found it persuasive that it could take $3 billion out of the hands of criminals and bring this money into the regular economy.
  • 68% convinced by the ability to deploy $1.2 billion of tax revenues on public services.
  • Health and criminal justice impacts also had a strong pull: with 68% motivated by the argument that it would allow the authorities to regulate and label the strength of cannabis sold and limit the potency.
  • At least two-thirds persuaded it would reduce children’s access to cannabis.
  • Also, at least two-thirds compelled by the idea it would lead to less violence.
Cannabis Plant
66% persuaded it would reduce children’s access to cannabis (Source)

Sentiment for reform might be growing but what does the evidence reveal?

The argument against legalization that gained the most traction is the concern that it could lead to more car accidents and more cannabis-related mental health problems, with 65% and 63% convinced respectively.

They require some groundbreaking investigation, in which they will travel to Colorado, California and Canada to understand the different models of legalization and lay out the impact it is having.

(Featured Image by liushuquan)

First published in vz, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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