The United Kingdom is the biggest exporter of legal marijuana but maintains its stick-in-the-mud conservative approach to decriminalizing the plant.
Classified as a Class B drug, marijuana falls into the same category as amphetamines like barbiturates and speed, cathinones which include mephedrone, as well as synthetic cannabinoids.
Ironically similar to the U.S.
The irony of this situation is not dissimilar to the United States where recreational pot is being legalized at State-level but is still outlawed by the federal government which classifies it as a Schedule One drug, in the same category as heroin and LSD.
What is even more paradoxical is that while Britain may be recognized as the biggest exporter of legal pot worldwide, officially it is dismissed as having no medical value.
Pious officialdom costing the UK dearly
This rather pious attitude adopted by officialdom is costing the UK dearly. Tax revenues from legalizing pot could pump an estimated £3.5bn into the British economy, according to the NGO organization known as Health Poverty Action. These funds could help alleviate the ever-increasingly cash-strapped National Health Service (NHS) crisis, the organization points out.
Many believe that legalizing pot in the UK is still many years away and that in the meantime the medical cannabis being produced in the country does little to help its own citizens. While medical marijuana is available in the UK on prescription, availability is so restrictive that patients find it easier to access medical-grade heroin than to get their hands on medical cannabis.
The size of the UK cannabis industry is astounding
The size of Britain’s medical marijuana industry is quite astounding. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently released the following statistics:
- Britain is the largest exporter of medical cannabis, a fact supported by the United Nations international organization
- The UK produced 95 tonnes of cannabis in 2016, more than doubling its production of 42 tonnes the previous year
- This represented44.9 percent of the world’s consumption of legal weed
- Canada, the world’s second-largest legal producer, lagged behind by nearly 15 tonnes, with a total of 80.7 tonnes produced in the same time period
Pro-pot groups pressure UK government
Meanwhile, there is growing pressure by pro-cannabis advocacy groups for the government to legalize weed. Spokesmen for these organizations have also been very vocal in their criticism of the government’s hypocritical stance.
Steve Rolles of Transform, a British drug policy reform organization, has been particularly outspoken. He labelled as “scandalous” and “untenable” the government’s dismissal of marijuana as having any medical value, while at the same time approving of being the world’s largest cannabis production and export market.Rolles is critical of the government’s persistent refusal to legalize medical marijuana in the UK on the premise that it has no therapeutic values, while at the same time operating as the world’s largest producer of cannabis for the medical market.
Rollespoints out that while medical patients in the UK are forced to source their pot supplies on the black market, this problem does not exist in countries that have legalized marijuana.
Groups that advocate the decriminalizing of marijuana also point out that weed is less dangerous than legal drugs such as alcohol, diazepam, refined sugar and tobacco.
Skunk created the furore
The furore about legalizing pot in the UK was sparked by a study conducted by researchers at the King’s College in London that revealed that the British cannabis black market is dominated by skunk. In fact, 94 percent of all pot seized by the police in 2016 was high-potency skunk.
While many refer to marijuana as skunk, it is, in fact, a unique high-potency strain against which most other strains of pot are measured. So while the term skunk has become generic when referring to pot, the strain itself is not.
British officialdom is not unlike the US’s federal government. Britain is the world’s biggest producer of medical cannabis but the government dismisses the plant as having any medical value. In the US, legalizing recreational pot is producing a domino-effect as one state after another goes green. While the federal government turns a blindeye to legal marijuana at state level, it outlaws the plant with its continued Schedule One classification, placing pot in the same class as frightening opioids like heroin and LSD.