Another Conservative MP has thrown his weight behind efforts to liberalize cannabis use in the UK after growing convinced of its ability to improve Brits’ health.
Andrew Mitchell, the MP for Sutton Coldfield and a former Tory cabinet minister, has urged his party to drastically reconsider its approach to marijuana. The ruling Conservative Party legalized medical cannabis last year, but overly stringent NHS guidelines make it impossible for doctors to actually prescribe it.
Mitchell feels that Tory MPs are fearful of endorsing cannabis use as they fear a stinging reproach from “the more right-wing media”. But he argues that the world is changing quickly and points to a raft of evidence to support his belief that rolling out a regulated cannabis industry across the UK will improve health and help fight crime.
Writing in the London Evening Standard, a newspaper edited by former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne, Mitchell proclaimed: “The clear truth is that the evidence for reform on both medicinal and recreational cannabis is strong.”
It follows news last week that Reigate MP Crispin Blunt believes he can make recreational cannabis legal in the UK within five years. Blunt is the first Conservative co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform.
He also chairs the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, a private company with members of The Supreme Cannabis Company, Zennabis and Cannex on its board. He argues that the UK should open its doors to a “tidal wave of investor money coming into the medical cannabis business”, while also legalizing recreational cannabis use.
Mitchell is of a similar opinion, and it is interesting to see a number of veteran Tories going public in endorsing cannabis liberalization.
The Sutton Coldfield MP estimates that 3 million Brits buy cannabis on the black market each year and claims that police forces across the UK are fighting a losing battle as they try to eradicate marijuana traffickers. He argues that it would be better to regulate and tax the industry, while preventing tens of thousands of Brits from needlessly being dragged through the courts each year.
If the UK gained the same per-capita tax income as Colorado or Washington state, the Treasury would gain more than £1 billion a year that could go straight into hospitals, police, and schools, he declared. He also pointed to the range of medical conditions that cannabis can be used to treat, from chronic pain to MS, and said it is far better than opioids.