One in five Brits now believe it is fine for MPs and chief executives of big companies to smoke cannabis, according to a new study from YouGov.
The poll was inspired by a video of Tesla founder Elon Musk smoking weed during a recent interview, which sent the firm’s share price plummeting by 6%. Nineteen percent said it was fine for MPs and company bosses to use cannabis on a regular basis, while 43% said it was fine for them to have done so in the past. However, 31% said that past use of cannabis should prevent someone from ever holding such an office.
Younger adults were the most open-minded and accepting of cannabis among those polled, YouGov said. It follows a poll earlier this year in which 43% of Brits told YouGov they approve of legalizing cannabis, compared to 41% who oppose it and 16% who are unsure. Meanwhile, three-quarters of people in the UK are in favour of medicinal cannabis being rolled out to treat epilepsy sufferers.
There are many signs of attitudes softening towards cannabis use across the UK, and advocates hope it will soon follow the lead of Canada and some US states by legalizing marijuana.
In Ipswich, a members-only cannabis lounge called Green Man Compassion has opened, selling a range of CBD products, such as oils pastes and powders, alongside bongs and vaping devices. Owner Darryl Noe went as far as telling his local newspaper that he illegally grows cannabis and gives it away to help people with pain relief.
“We are recreational users ourselves but speak on behalf of those that need it medically,” said co-owner Jessie Carter. “But we also want it legalized recreationally.” A few years ago, the police would have come down on such an establishment like a ton of bricks, but Suffolk Constabulary merely said it would “monitor the situation”.
Up in Coventry, a judge also showed leniency to a man found guilty of possessing cannabis with intent to supply. Marshall Collier, 23, was jailed for a year after police raided his home and found a kilo of weed. But he pleaded for leniency in an appeal hearing, arguing that cannabis helps relieve pain in his shoulder following an industrial accident. He said he supplied his friends, but not for commercial profit. The judge agreed and spared him a custodial sentence, changing it to an eight-month suspended sentence. Mr. Justice Dove said Collier’s original punishment was “manifestly excessive”.
The number of people prosecuted for possession of cannabis in the UK is falling all the time, and the country has all but decriminalized it. The next step is to legalize it, regulate it and tax it, and campaigners believe that day is coming soon.