Nearly half of British adults now support broad cannabis legalization with just 25 percent opposed, according to an Independent report. The poll, commissioned by the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), found that 48 percent of adults in England supported legalization — a five-point increase from a YouGov survey last year.
Another 77 percent of poll respondents supported medical cannabis legalization and about the same number said they would consider using medical cannabis treatments if there was strong evidence to its benefits.
About one in four respondents believed that patients prescribed medical cannabis products should be allowed to grow their own; another 22 percent said people should be able to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use.
One in three of the 1,690 polled admitted to trying cannabis.
Rob Wilson, the CEO of the CBPRG and a former minister for civil society, said the poll showed that there is a “clear and growing appetite” for drug policy reforms in the UK.
“This survey shows the government and politicians are significantly behind the public’s thinking. … It illustrates the widening gulf between the stubborn, decades-old policies of blanket prohibition and the developing attitude of millions of voters willing to apply new approaches focused on improving harm reduction and healthcare outcomes.” — Wilson, to the Independent
Last November, the National Health Service legalized some cannabis-based medicines for a limited number of conditions; however, according to the Independent, the health agency has issued virtually no prescriptions under the program.
In 2017, the Liberal Democrats added legalization to their platform. According to research by the party, 87,247 cannabis-related police caseloads were opened in 2015, equaling an estimated 1,044,180 police hours and £31 million (more than USD$40 million) in enforcement.
Seventy-nine percent of the CBPRG poll respondents said the government is struggling to deal with the nation’s drug problems while 70 percent said prohibition failed to reduce harm.