Former Metropolitan police chief, Bernard Hogan-Howe, has spoken out about the UK government’s current attitude towards the use of cannabis. He commented that there was clear evidence to warrant a review of it’s use and the current prohibition laws applied to it.
Hogan-Howe, who was always a supporter of the tough laws applied to the use of cannabis, has now suggested that the Home Secretary should look at the evidence that is coming from North America about the beneficial use of cannabis. He suggested holding a consultation with a commission of experts to examine the evidence coming from several US states in North America, as well as other countries such as Uruguay and Portugal where cannabis use has already been decriminalised.
He is urging the UK government to review the use and classification of cannabis following a host of leading clinical bodies calling out for changes. There is plenty of evidence coming from around the world where cannabis is being used for medical purposes. However, there is a fine line to draw between using cannabis for medical reasons and for recreational use. He also says that the government should be prepared for changes to allow legalisation for recreational use.
Cannabis legalisation around the world
Canada recently legalised the recreational use of cannabis, and the UK has also relaxed the laws to allow medical prescription of cannabis-based treatments. It only seems logical that a complete legalisation of cannabis use is on the horizon, especially with other countries relaxing their laws.
Talking to the press, Hogan-Howe commented that he had seen “clear evidence” to warrant a meaningful review of cannabis prohibition. While it has been made much easier to access medical-grade cannabis-based prescription medicines to help ease symptoms for some sick patients, the evidence is there from other countries around the world that cannot be ignored.
Even with the relaxation of the law to allow medical based cannabis treatment, the UK’s approach to enforcing the current laws surrounding the use of cannabis is often ignored. There are reports coming from a significant number of police forces around the country that say they don’t prosecute low-level cannabis related offences.
Pressure from within the government
There was even a notable intervention coming from former Conservative leader William Hague earlier this year calling out our current cannabis laws as “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date”.
Due to a number of recent high-profile cases coming from active campaigners, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, moved to relax the law on cannabis-based products for use with patients. He did this following a consultation with and advice given by medical experts. This has been a positive step to break the long-standing archaic rules around the use of cannabis and has allowed for more beneficial approaches for medical treatments.
However, despite the huge step to relax the laws around cannabis-based medicines, the government has stressed that they have no current plans to decriminalise cannabis for recreational use. There still remains the belief that cannabis is linked to a risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia. But according to a recent large study into the relationship between a predisposition towards schizophrenia and cannabis use, there was very weak evidence linking the two.
Only time will tell whether the laws surrounding cannabis use will be revised once again. But the mounting evidence is looking positive towards the full legalisation of cannabis.