More than 5 million Brits have consumed cannabis in the past three months, according to a survey from Maru Voice UK.
The firm bills itself as the UK’s leading online market research community, giving people the opportunity to participate in surveys that influence brands. Its latest research found that 11% of Brits had used marijuana in the last three months, despite it being illegal for recreational purposes.
The UK government legalized medicinal cannabis use towards the end of 2018 after parents of suffering children piled on the pressure. High-profile, front page news stories highlighted the plight of several patients who could not gain access to the marijuana that would ease their pain, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid relented.
Yet stringent guidelines issued by the Royal College of Physicians and The British Paediatric Neurology Association make it virtually impossible for doctors to actually prescribe cannabis. Patient groups and campaigners have branded this situation “ludicrous, cruel, and totally unfair”.
Recreational cannabis use remains illegal, although it is all but decriminalized in several parts of the country. Cities smell of marijuana smoke and the police are doing nothing to clamp down on it, but the government is unable to earn any revenue from taxing it and there are no safety measures in place for the public.
The Maru Voice UK survey suggests that 11% of Brits consume cannabis, compared to 14% in Canada and 15% in the U.S. It found that it transcends age groups and is popular among various income levels and in all regions across the country.
Two-thirds of respondents to the survey said they support the legalization of recreational marijuana use and that they want to see Westminster rethink its classification of cannabis as a prohibited drug.
Yet George McBride, chief executive at British cannabis consultancy firm Hanway Associates, does not expect drastic changes to the law any time soon. He believes that while legalization has broad support among Brits, that support does not run too deep and it is not near the top of voters’ priorities.
Theresa May has officially resigned as Prime Minister and is holding onto the job in an interim role while the Conservative Party elects a new leader. The deadline to declare as a candidate is at 5 p.m. GMT today, and hustings will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday before Tory MPs vote on Thursday.
That vote will whittle it down to a final two, and then a month-long leadership contest will take place. On July 22, 150,000 members of the Conservative Party will elect a new leader from the two finalists, and that individual will become Prime Minister.
Brexit is looming – the deadline is October 31 – and there is still the prospect of a snap general election being called this year to break a deadlock around it. Cannabis law reform could come up, but it is unlikely to be a defining issue, as is the case in New Zealand.