What’s the future of cannabis decriminalisation in London?

January 14, 2022

The legal status of cannabis has been in and out of the news for years, but what’s the current state of play? With so many initiatives, pilot schemes and rethinks, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. That’s why we’ve put everything you need in one place for the very first time. All it takes is a couple of minutes of your time and you’ll be up to speed with everything to do with the legal status of cannabis in London, as well as the future plans surrounding it.

Is cannabis already legal?

No, that’s the short answer to that one! While cannabis is a drug that’s increasingly mainstream and impossible to overdose from, it remains a Class B drug throughout the UK. This means that if you’re caught with it you’re committing a crime, and if it can be proved you’re supplying and distributing it, you will face a lengthy prison sentence.

Why is there so much misinformation surrounding cannabis?

There have been repeated calls for cannabis to be reclassified as a Class C drug over the years. This in itself is not a problem, but an issue arises when you start to consult friends, or search for information online. It only takes a rogue memory or a poorly worded article to go viral and you have a whole host of misinformation that claims that cannabis is now Class C. When you factor in the increasingly prominent position it is taking in mainstream culture (particularly in movies and the music industry) you start to see why there’s a cloud of uncertainty hanging over cannabis.

How can CBD be legal if cannabis is illegal?

Good question! There’s a common misconception that CBD is to cannabis what an e-cigarette is to a normal packet of cigarettes. While the vaping aspect of this comparison is true, the substances being ingested are worlds apart.

CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, but it crucially is missing THC — the psychoactive ingredient that gives you the ‘high’ feeling when you smoke marijuana. CBD is a health and wellness supplement that has been shown to help with everything from inflammation and chronic pain to stress and social anxiety. It is a different substance to cannabis, even though it is derived from it, and is subject to a different set of laws. It’s really important to draw the distinction because the fact that you can legally buy and use CBD oil doesn’t imply the same holds true for cannabis.

Why are police powers so subjective?

One of the issues surrounding cannabis legislation is the argument that it does relatively little harm to the user when compared to other illegal drugs. When you factor in that users have the ability to grow and maintain a small plant by themselves and use the effects for a whole range of purposes, rather than simply getting high, the issue becomes even more complex.

There have been increasing calls to relax the police response to people being caught with small amounts of cannabis that the vast majority of times will be for nothing more than personal use. A heavy handed approach in which a young person is hit with a criminal conviction which will impact their employment and housing opportunities for the rest of their life is now being increasingly seen as a disproportionate response to a relatively mild social issue.

As a result of these overlapping grey areas, and the need to avoid doing undue harm to future prospects of young people, police are given greater discretion over what to do. Many choose to hand out a cannabis fine of £30 which when paid avoids a criminal record or official warning. This is now seen as a suitable deterrent by many, but there is still some confusion out there.

What is Sadiq Khan proposing in London?

With London increasingly facing a whole host of competing law and order problems, it was felt that a firm decision needed to be made in regard to cannabis. By providing borough-wide powers to decriminalise the act of having a small amount of cannabis on your person for personal use, the mayor is aiming to free up valuable time and resources that he feels could be better spent elsewhere.

This is a proposal that, at time of writing, is only a week old, so it remains to be seen how it will play out in the long run. What is clear, however, is that there is a growing trend towards allowing cannabis to be used for personal reasons without it resulting in heavy handed fines and prosecutions. For those who have experienced the health and wellness benefits of regular use, this can only be a positive.

Isn’t cannabis still seen as a gateway drug?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and one which always comes up when the issue of decriminalisation is put back on the table. The truth is that it varies a great deal from person to person. There are undoubtedly those who are currently regularly using and are addicted to Class A drugs who started with cannabis, this much we do know without a doubt. But there are also many more who use cannabis and alcohol as recreational drugs and do relatively little harm to themselves, and wider society, in the process.

Our answer has always been that the best way to move past these types of concerns is to remove the psychoactive elements of cannabis and focus purely on the health and wellness angle. There will always be some users who don’t want to do this because they enjoy the feeling and sensation of ingesting THC, but we’re very much committed to the wellness side of things. By producing an all-natural CBD oil that can help body and mind in a wide range of different ways, our goal is to move past the cannabis decriminalisation debate by taking what we see as a far superior product.

Anything else you need to know?

The most important thing to say here is that it’s never been more important to avoid urban myths and gossip. Decriminalisation is a complex and time-consuming process that will never happen overnight. It’s all too easy to get swept up in the moment and then fall foul of the law because you acted with too much haste. The announcement that Sadiq Khan is considering decriminalisation in London is a classic example.

Just because the issue is under consideration doesn’t mean that it has been decided that the change will go ahead. What is currently being looked at is a pilot scheme to run in several boroughs so that data can be gathered and the social implications analysed. While this is certainly a positive step for cannabis advocates, it doesn’t alter the fact that cannabis is still very much a Class B drug in all areas of the UK.

While these developments are positive, we always urge the use of pure products with verifiable origins. Our THC-free CBD products can be traced to well-known growers, are independently tested for strength and purity, and allow you to experience all of the health and wellness benefits with nothing but true peace of mind. 

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