The current laws surrounding cannabis as the campaign to legalise it grows

You could still face a maximum five years in jail for possessing cannabis – but a campaign to decriminalise the drug is gaining momentum and is being backed by a number of famous faces

CELEBRITIES, politicians and experts have backed calls to decriminalise the booming cannabis industry.

But will the regulations around the drug be relaxed in the UK and where in the world is it already legal?

 Campaigners have highlighted the medicinal benefits of cannabis as an argument for legalising it

Campaigners have highlighted the medicinal benefits of cannabis as an argument for legalising it

Will cannabis be legalised in the UK?

Currently anyone found possessing cannabis can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both punishments under UK legislation.

Supplying or producing the class B drug can land people in prison for a maximum of 14 years an unlimited fine, or both.

There has long been an argument to legalise the drug to help people with chronic pain and anxiety.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform says tens of thousands of people in UK already break the law to use cannabis for symptom relief.

The issue was debated on October 12, 2015, and closed after the government responded by saying: “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.

“There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.”

Which celebrities support the legalisation of drugs?

Celebrities have also added their names for legalisation with Russell BrandSir Richard Branson and Sting all arguing for regulation to be relaxed.

Rapper Professor Green has made a documentary for the BBC entitled Is It Time To Legalise Weed? at the end of which he argues rules should be relaxed to improve safety.

Singer Paloma Faith has said people should be allowed to grow their own cannabis so they know it is pure.

She said, according to Metro: “I think people should be able to smoke weed. Grow it in the garden, then it’s much nicer and not laced with anything.

“You won’t end up in hospital because you smoked something dodgy.”

Another supporter is John Huffman, 84, who created a synthetic and extremely potent drug Spice while studying how cannabis affects the brain.

In the run up to the 2017 General Election, the Liberal Democrats announced plans to legalise the drug for sale on the high street.

The policy made them one of the first political parties to fight an election on the ticket of relaxing drug laws.

Right wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute has said £750million to £1bn could be generated in taxes if the drug was regulated like tobacco or alcohol.

Criminal justice savings would also add up, with 1,363 offenders currently in prison for cannabis-related crimes at a cost to the taxpayer of £50million a year.

Where is marijuana already legal?

In some countries – including Norway, the Netherlands and Portugal – it is legal to consume small amounts of marijuana.

In others police do not arrest people for possession, although dealers still face harsh penalties.

Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalise the use of all drugs in 2001.

In Australia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, Croatia and Macedonia it is legal for medicinal purposes in some form, and in Turkey for the cultivation for the same purpose.

In Uruguay, Spain, Slovenia, Netherlands, Jamaica, Columbia, Chile and the US states Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington it is legal or decriminalised in some form.




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