A new poll released by Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF) shows that 53% of the Great British public are in favour of legalising cannabis.
The study, which was released February 19, not only shows that a majority of Brits are in favour of legalising cannabis, it also found that 67% believe there should be a comprehensive review of UK drug policy.
A spokesperson for Transform said, “These results show just how far ahead of politicians the public are. Whilst Labour and Conservative politicians shy away from the debate on drugs, around half of their supporters want to see legal regulation of cannabis production and supply or decriminalisation of cannabis possession, and a significant majority want a comprehensive review of our approach to drugs – including consideration of legal regulation. The poll demonstrates that even amongst Daily Mail readers, almost half support less punitive approaches to cannabis, and a majority back an independent review of all options, which may come as a surprise to the paper’s editors.”
This is not to say that cannabis has no negative effects or that it is not possible to become addicted. The study simply shows a shifting attitude where more people in the UK see cannabis as similar to alcohol.
The poll shows a full 55% of Labour supporters, 50% of Conservatives and 46% of daily mail readers support legal regulation or decriminalisation. Only 1 in 7 people actually support heavier penalties for possession.
During poling, participants also heard a description of Portuguese style drug outcomes and policy. In the Portuguese system, it is legal to possess small quantities of any drug without facing penalties. The dealers and supply would remain illegal which means police could focus on the major players and traffickers rather than targeting small fish and first time offenders. After this was explained 40% of the public supported similar measures.
The survey, which included 946 British adults over 18 years of age, found that while people did not necessarily support the use of cannabis, the do not believe the current legal regulations are justified or effective.
This could mean major changes in parliament as lawmakers react to public sentiment. A spokesperson for TDPF said, “Politicians have repeated their ‘tough on drugs’ propaganda for so long that they assume the public are more fearful of change than they really are. In fact the world has changed, and the public are far more progressive than was thought, right across the political spectrum.”