William Hague calls for UK cannabis legalisation

19th June, 2018 by Amy Hopkins

Tory peer William Hague has suggested that the UK government should consider legalising cannabis, stating that its current policy for the drug is “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date”.

William Hague

UK government should “embrace a decisive change” with regards to its stance on cannabis, Lord Hague has said

Writing in The Telegraph, Hague, a former leader of the Conservative party, said: “It must now be asked whether Britain should join the many other countries that permit medical-grade marijuana, or indeed join Canada in preparing for a lawful, regulated market in cannabis for recreational use as well.”

Canada is set to legalise recreational cannabis use at a nationwide level next month, while a number of US states have taken similar steps.

Hague’s comments follow a recent case that saw a 12-year-old boy who suffers from epilepsy admitted to hospital after his medicinal cannabis oil was confiscated.

Lord Hague said the incident was “beyond ridiculous” and demonstrated that “official intransigence is now at odds with common sense”.

He added the government should “embrace a decisive change that would be economically and socially beneficial”, and said “any war” on cannabis had been “comprehensively and irreversibly” lost.

In addition to putting a strain on the police force and criminal justice system, the illegal cannabis market in the UK has led to a “sharp increase” in the availability of more potent drugs, according to Hague.

He urged British Conservatives to “be as bold” as Canadian liberals with regards to its policy decisions.

Commentators have warned that the increasing legalisation of cannabis could hit alcohol sales. A number of drinks groups have recently moved into the cannabis industry and announced plans to produce cannabis-infused beverages.

In October last year, US drinks group Constellation Brands acquired a minority stake in Canada-based cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation. Meanwhile, the largest drinks distribution company in North America entered into a partnership with cannabis producer Aphria.

The first Cannabis Drinks Expo will take place in San Francisco next year to assess the “challenges and potential opportunities” the growing industry presents to drinks.

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