Among the “Western” democracies, Great Britain is second only to the federal United States in hanging on dearly to the well-exploded myth that cannabis is a threat to humanity. And just like in the U.S., elected officials in the U.K. cling to prohibition despite overwhelming support for marijuana legalization — in some cases, near-total support, as a recent poll shows.
The Evening Express is a relatively small media outlet in Aberdeen, itself a smallish city along Scotland’s eastern coast. The paper recently ran a story about a woman suffering from breast cancer who’d been prosecuted for growing four cannabis plants, from which she’d made oil to complement her treatment.
Following the story, the paper decided to poll readers to see what they thought about marijuana legalization — and 98.5 percent of the 3,400 people who participated responded in the affirmative.
As per the Express:
More than 3400 people took part, with 2623 (75.8%) of people saying that yes cannabis should be made legal, 785 (22.6%) of people said it should be legal but only for medicinal purposes and with a prescription.
Just 53 (1.5%) of people said no, cannabis should remain illegal.
Now, an internet poll is not exactly scientific. The paper didn’t appear to parse IP addresses to determine every respondent was a local (and not, say, a Russian pro-legalization bot). Nor was there any assurance that legalization advocates didn’t find every device in town and vote multiple times. And it’s very difficult to imagine someone clicking on a story about cops busting a cancer patient and hauling her into court coming away with a reaction along the lines of, “Sounds about right.”
Plus, Aberdeen itself is something of a leftwing bastion. If the result were from, say, Yorkshire in England — a former coal-mining region which has fallen on hard times as economies shift towards technology and an area that decisively supported Britain’s exit from the European Union — it might be more meaningful, as it would demonstrate overwhelming support for legalization in Britain’s Trump Country!
At the same time, however, to have an almost perfect result on anything, including a poll, is an anomaly that can’t be dismissed.
Both major political parties in Britain — Labor and the in-power Tories — agree on keeping marijuana a “Class B” drug, the second-strictest prohibition in the country (but still punishable by no more than five years in jail for possession and no more than 14 years for sales). Sure, this is bad, but there are Americans in jail for decades for similar crimes, so not quite as bad — but just as unwelcome among the public.
TELL US, do you think cannabis should be legalized in the U.K.?