A train station walkway adorned with Union Jacks.

Mabel Lu

UK Liberal Dems Add Cannabis Legalization to Platform

According to research by Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom, 87,247 police caseloads related to cannabis were opened in 2015, equaling an estimated 1,044,180 police hours and £31 million (more than USD$40 million) in enforcement, the Independent reports. Liberal leaders announced on Friday that they plan on pushing for cannabis regulation and taxation as part of their political platform.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market,” the manifesto states. “Liberal Democrats will take back control from the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis.”

In the U.K., cannabis is a Class B substance and possession carries a five-year jail term; dealers can be sentenced to up to 14 years, although the stricter possession sentence is rarely imposed.

The party’s plan would allow sales for adults 18-and-older, limiting THC content and requiring that cannabis products also contain CBD. The party says that “skunk” – cannabis which has been bred to remove most of, if not all, CBD – is responsible for harming the “mental and physical health” of youth.

“The current approach is a disaster for young people…There are no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength,” the party contends. “‘Skunk’ is widespread and the only ID you need to buy it is a £20 note.”

The Liberal Democrats estimate that a taxed and regulated industry would see up to £1 billion in tax revenues that would be used for education and drug treatment programs.

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