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Is cannabis illegal in UK and where is weed legal to smoke and buy?

  • 28 Dec 2019, 18:30
  • Updated : 20 Apr 2020, 13:39
  • Invalid Date,

MARIJUANA has been illegal in the UK since 1928 – but will laws around the Class B drug be relaxed?

Here’s everything you need to know about drug laws on cannabis as they currently stand.

Is marijuana illegal in the UK?

Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK.

Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

While being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug carries up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.

Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if you’re caught with a small amount – generally less than one ounce – if it is deemed for personal use.

Is it illegal to smoke cannabis in your own home?

Like all drugs in Britain, weed is regulated extremely stringently by the Government.

As the punishments suggest, it’s completely illegal to smoke weed anywhere in Britain – including on your own property.

However, some police forces have taken a more laid-back attitude to the recreational drug, which is believed to be the most popular in the UK.

Prosecution rates for cannabis possession are as low as 15 per cent in Cornwall and Devon, while Durham Police have said they will no longer target recreational users at all.

Is medical marijuana legal in the UK?

Medical forms of marijuana are available over the counter or by prescription in the UK – but it is heavily monitored and regulated.

Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1, 2018.

The new rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland, Sajid Javid said in a written statement.

It follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.

In order for a cannabis product to be considered medicinal it must meet three requirements: it “needs to be a preparation or product which contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative; it is produced for medicinal use in humans and; is a medicinal product, or a substance or preparation for use as an ingredient of, or in the production of an ingredient of, a medicinal product”, according to Mr Javid’s statement.

In July 2019, it was ruled that the NHS could prescribe cannabis-based medicine to treat Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Trials of the drug were carried out at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital on children who were having multiple seizures a day.

Results showed the drug stopped the seizures in many cases and significantly reduced them in others.

The decision by the European Medicines Agency has to be confirmed in two months, but that is expected to be a formality paving the way for the liquid medicine to be available on the NHS later this year for dozens of children affected by the two conditions.

Where is weed legal?

Weed has been decriminalised for personal use in a number of countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal, which decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001.

Canada legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2001. But in October 2018 Canada became the first G7 nation to legalise recreational use of the drug.

In Australia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia it is legal for medicinal purposes.

Some US states have legalised marijuana while others allow it for medicinal use only.

New York state was the latest to decriminalise recreational use in July 2019.

Possession of small amounts of the drug will be punished with fines rather than jail time, a step short of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of legalising pot.

The Liberal Democrats became the first major British political party to support the legalisation of cannabis in March 2016.

How many people in the UK smoke weed?

The use of most drugs has declined in the UK since records began in 1996, according to a 2016 Home Office survey.

It found that cannabis was by some distance the most commonly used drug, with 6.5 per cent of adults aged between 16 and 59 smoking in the previous year.

Weed was also the most popular among those aged between 16 and 24, with 15.8 per cent using it in that same time.

The next popular drug was powdered cocaine.

When did cannabis become illegal in the UK?

Cannabis was banned in 1928.

Its medical use was outlawed in 1971 and growing plants was made illegal in 1964.

Here's everything you need to know about cannabis

United Kingdom Marijuana Laws & Policy

While recreational cannabis remains illegal in the United Kingdom (UK), the island nation did recently legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

Current Legislation

In the UK, recreational cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and it is illegal to possess, cultivate, distribute or sell without the appropriate licenses. The maximum penalty for possession is 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. In cases where possession is in small amounts, a police officer may issue a warning or an on-the spot fine of £90. In the event a warning is issued, police keep record of the offense but there is no associated fine. Cultivation or possession with the intent to sell comes with a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine

It is legal to grow industrial hemp in the UK, but a license is required to cover both cultivation and possession.

Medical Marijuana Laws

After receiving a two-part review on the safety and efficacy of cannabis, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced in July 2018 that medical marijuana would be available by prescription in the United Kingdom. In October 2018, Javid announced that specialized doctors — such as neurologists and pediatricians — will be able to begin prescribing cannabis-based medicines to UK patients “with an exceptional clinical need” on November 1, 2018. The country’s National Health Service will cover its cost.

The UK’s Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will decide which cannabis-derived medicinal products will be rescheduled to Schedule 2, allowing them to be prescribed by a doctor.

Separately, since April 2013, cannabis (THC) drug Sativex was rescheduled from a Schedule 1 Class B drug to Schedule IV controlled substance, which allows it to be prescribed by a general practitioner. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has authorized Sativex to assist in the treatment of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis. Doctors can prescribe it to assist in the treatment of other conditions, but at their own risk.

Recreational and medical cannabis is illegal in the United Kingdom (UK). ]]>