Will Britain legalise cannabis in 2018?
By Diane Cooke
2017 was a big year for marijuana around the world, writes inverse.com. More US states and countries are moving towards legalising weed than ever before. All of this adds up to a burgeoning pot industry, which means profit for growers and more likelihood that weed will start showing up in front of consumers.
In April, West Virginia became the 29th state to legalise marijuana for medical use. On election day in November, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada all passed laws legalising the recreational use of cannabis.
California leads the pack, with $2 billion in sales of medical marijuana this year, and some estimate that taxes and fees could provide the state with $1 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, Colorado had already hit over $1 billion in sales in the first eight months of 2017, a higher figure than expected.
Research shows that legalising cannabis can reduce consumption of harder drugs, like heroin, and alcohol.
What's more in Colorado, following legalisation, teenage marijuana use fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade, according to federal survey data.
State-level numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that a little more than nine per cent of Colorado teens age 12 to 17 used marijuana monthly in 2015 and 2016, a statistically significant drop from the prior period. That's the lowest rate of monthly marijuana use in the state since 2007 and 2008.
You can even grab your weed on the go if you happen to be in Parachute, Colorado, now that the state has opened the country’s first drive-through marijuana dispensary, Tumbleweed Express.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Uruguay was one of the first Latin American countries to create a plan to legalise marijuana, which was approved in 2013. The drug is legal to cultivate, distribute, and consume for registered Uruguay residents.
Recently, the Latin American nation also legalised the sale of recreational pot in pharmacies, making it the first country ever to move cannabis via drug store retail. In the time since legalisation, 16 pharmacies have registered with the government of Uruguay, though that number is expected to increase over time.
Tourists, howver, will have to make friends with locals if they want to partake.
In November, Prince William got involved in the drug legalisation debate after visiting an addiction charity in East London, UK.
According to The Guardian, which covered the prince’s visit, “responses from those at the charity were mixed and the much-discussed issue continues to prove contentious among everyone, from politicians to academics, drug-users and medical experts”.
However, with the UK once again leading the way in Europe for the number of drug overdoses, and London being named the continent’s overdose capital for the third year in a row, many agree the current drug policy is not working.
Could 2018 be the year that Britain follows in America's footsteps and legalises cannabis for more than medical use?