The head of a British parliamentary group on drug reform has predicted that recreational cannabis use will be legalized within the next five years.
Reigate MP Crispin Blunt is the first Conservative co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform and an advocate of liberalization. “Five years is the time I’m going to aim for,” he said when asked about how long it will take for the UK to permit sales of adult-use marijuana.
Yet Blunt has courted controversy for setting up the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, which was incorporated in September 2018 and officially launched today. Unlike the All-Party Parliamentary Group that he co-chairs, the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group is not affiliated with parliament in any way, nor does it have any links to the Conservative Party.
It is a lobbying group specifically designed to push for cannabis legalization and more liberal drug laws in Britain. Representatives from four major Canadian marijuana producers hoping to expand into the UK sit on its board, and these firms helped it raise £400,000 ($508,000) in February.
The Supreme Cannabis Company vice president Barinder Bhullar, Zenabis chief executive Ricky Brar, Cannex chief executive Anthony Dutton and Wayland Group chief executive Ben Ward are all listed as advisors to the company.
Blunt is no longer chief executive and he does not hold any shares in the company, but he is the chairman. This has drawn some negative headlines among the British press.
Blunt said he has always been transparent about the group, its aims, its funding and its association with Canadian producers. Former Conservative MP Rob Wilson is now the chief executive.
The Conservatives do not currently have a leader as Theresa May was ousted and Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are battling to succeed her. Blunt, who is backing Johnson in the race, said he has spoken to the leadership candidates about the group and insists there will not be a conflict of interest.
In a House of Commons speech last month, Blunt said there is a “tidal wave of investor money coming into the medical cannabis business” and he wants to see recreational cannabis made legal too. He insists he will “get absolutely nothing in return” if it is legalized, apart from the satisfaction affecting a massive change for the public good.
Elsewhere, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis conducted a survey that suggests 6 million Brits consumed CBD in the past year. However, The Times claims they are being misled, as laboratory test results suggest that more than half of the most popular CBD oils sold at high-street chemists, in health shops and online do not contain the level of CBD promised on the label.