Could the United Kingdom see marijuana legalization? The UK Parliament debates this week. Marijuana legalization and regulation has become part of the mainstream conversation in the United States and in Canada. But what about overseas? Are people down with legalization in the United Kingdom?
Pot Across The Pond
The current state of cannabis in the United Kingdom is that it is prohibited. Considered a Class B drug, those found to be in possession of it can face a maximum of five years in prison and/or fines, of which there is no limit.
Despite mounting research that points to the therapeutic and pharmaceutical value of the plant, there is currently no medical marijuana in any area of the United Kingdom.
But people in the United Kingdom suffer the same diseases and disorders that people in North America do, and they stand to benefit from the same remedies. Using cannabis for medicinal purposes is not legal in the UK But that hasn’t stopped citizens from seeking it and using it once they’ve acquired some.
And the risk doesn’t end with those who use it. UK citizens who are found to be guilty of selling or producing cannabis can be sentenced to prison for up to 14 years.
Due to the number of people living in the United Kingdom who are turning to, or trying to turn to, cannabis to relieve chronic illness and pain, the UK Parliament will debate legalizing the plant for medicinal use this week.
Final Hit: Marijuana Legalization? The UK Parliament Debates This Week
In the United Kingdom, there is one recent case in particular that has struck a chord for lawmakers. A family was forced to relocate to the Netherlands to seek treatment for their six-year-old son, Alfie Dingley.
The boy suffers a severe form of epilepsy and was having up to thirty seizures a day. However, once his mother, Hannah Deacon and his father, Drew Dingley, were able to procure cannabis oil for him in their new home, young Alfie was able to go 24 days seizure-free.
Unfortunately, due to waning financial resources, the family had to move back to the United Kingdom, where the treatment that improved their son’s quality of life is illegal. They had petitioned the National Health Service for permission to use the oil but to no avail.
Could this family’s struggle be the impetus for marijuana legalization? The UK Parliament debates this week is so revolutionary that it’s caught the attention of celebrities like Russell Brand, Sting, Paloma Faith and Sir Richard Branson.
All are in favor of cannabis legalization. Paloma Faith even asserted that United Kingdom citizens should have the right to grow marijuana in their own homes.
“I think people should be able to smoke weed,” she told Metro reporters, “Grow it in the garden, then it’s much nicer and not laced with anything. You won’t end up in the hospital because you smoked something dodgy.”
Will this debate be the start of a more sensible drug policy in the United Kingdom? We’ll keep our ears open for updates.