- Published on Monday, 27 July 2015 19:18
A petition for the full legalization of marijuana in the UK has gathered more than 130,000 signatures in just four days, which means that the lawmakers must now consider debating it in Parliament or at least officially respond to the query.
The electronic petition, created by James Richard Owen, calls for the legalization of the production, sale and use of cannabis and currently has close to 135,000 signatures since being launched on Tuesday.
“Legalising cannabis could bring in £900m ($1,396m) in taxes every year, save £400m ($620m) on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs,” the appeal on the government’s website says. The campaign also argues that the drug is “safer than alcohol,” has been used by mankind for over 4,000 years, and was outlawed in the UK only in 1925.
Since the e-petition reached the required minimum of 100,000 signatures the MPs will now be forced to debate the declassification of the substance.
“There’s roughly three million adult [cannabis] smokers in the UK and I don’t think it’s right for the government to be criminalising such a large section of society,” Owen, an economics student at Aberystwyth University, told The Guardian.
The creator of the petition argues that UK is just wasting money on policing an issue that has been legalized in a number of countries across the world.
“With Uruguay legalising, a lot of states in the US legalising, government cuts, people don’t want to spend the money on policing something they find is harmless.”
Despite Cannabis being most widely used drug in the United Kingdom, it is illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell it in the UK. Handling the Class B drug, could result in up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
UK Cannabis Legalisation Petition hits 150,000 Signatures, will get Parliament Debate Date in September
A petition calling for cannabis to be legalised in the UK has now amassed over 150,000 signatures, furthering its chances of receiving a serious consideration in Parliament.
Citing financial, employment and policing benefits, the petition hit 100,000 signees on Saturday, ensuring it would be considered for the House of Commons.
The petitioners has been waiting for a debate date for two days, but will have to wait a good while longer.
It will be considered for debate at a Petitions Committee meeting in September, with the body saying that petitions with over 100,000 signatures are "almost always" debated.
An official response from the government is expected much sooner.
Entitled 'Make the production, sale and use of cannabis legal', the petition claims that "legalising cannabis could bring in £900m in taxes every year, save £400m on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs.
"A substance that is safer than alcohol, and has many uses" it adds, "it is believed to have been used by humans for over 4000 years, being made illegal in the UK in 1925."
The petition follows the Durham police commissioner's effective decriminalisation of the drug, and several states in the US hardly falling to pieces (with several reaping big tax rewards) after legalising marijuana.
It is currently the second most signed petition on the Parliament committee-run website, following one calling for a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt which has seen almost 200,000 signatures.
Last month, The House of Lords pondered changes to the Psychoactive Substances Bill, describing it as already a "laughing stock".