Find out what the law says
Are you wondering where cannabis is legal in Europe and the rest of the world?
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Cannabis in the UK
Marijuana still divides the world and governments today. It is a plant that has an ancient history but in some respects is considered by some states (and especially those of Anglo-Saxon culture) highly harmful, and compared with the most dangerous and banned drugs.
The opening to the commercialization of legal cannabis is something that is being acquired only recently and with great difficulty.
While Italy has adapted to the new reality by opening up its markets to the spread of medical cannabis and CBD marijuana, in countries such as the UK, about what could be its liberalization for medical and recreational activities.
A reality that sees a fundamental contradiction, given that on the one hand, drugs with active ingredients of marijuana are legalized and on the other hand, the definition of being an illegal drug continues to persist.
Things are slowly changing, and already in 2018, in the wake of the campaign that has influenced the whole world, there seems to be a new opening with the possibility to buy online CBD buds and weed seeds.
But what is the legislation in the UK today? In case you are a cannabis user, what should you do if you go to England for days? What are the risks you face?
On our website, you will find all the information you need to understand the marijuana legislation in this country.
Cannabis, a reality in the history of the United Kingdom
To understand today’s legislation and the difficulties of achieving a form of regulation, you have to consider how, in the UK, the culture of cannabis is closely linked to the social fabric.
Just look at the history of this product and how it has been an integral part of an economy linked to two worlds: land and sea.
The contradictions begin with the use of cannabis, which is part of the everyday reality of British life.
In fact, already at the time of Henry VIII and then in 1500 this plant was an integral part of life and connected to the shipbuilding industry and its development. The cultivations on the territory even if very diffused, as today, were insufficient, leading, therefore, to import the product from other Countries.
Cannabis in the Middle Ages to 1800
Throughout the Middle Ages and until the beginning of the nineteenth century, cannabis continued to be a widely used product. Various products were produced with this plant, such as aprons, sheets, sacks, ship ropes, and fishing nets.
In addition, at the beginning of the nineteenth century began to increase what was the personal use of cannabis by exploiting the relaxing and psychotropic effects of the substance.
If I had been an inhabitant of the late nineteenth century, you would have had no problem entering one of the premises for smokers of marijuana and other types of substances.
In fact, in England at the beginning of the century, the characteristics of the plant were well known even if they were not yet based on scientific bases.
The development of the recreational side of marijuana was contributed not only by the presence of small crops scattered throughout the territory but also by the importation from countries belonging to the empire.
What happened to Cannabis in 1900?
The decline in its use was closely linked both to the replacement of this product with others, such as paper and synthetic fibres, and above all to the campaign on the negative psychotropic effects of the product, which began in the 1920s and lasted for all in the 1900s.
The UK not only followed in the footsteps of American ideas that marijuana was considered dangerous, but there was also a real form of negative cultural view of the product.
Just as in America it was associated with those who tried to oppose the government and who praised the end of the war and peace, in the United Kingdom they began to link the use of cannabis to the lower social strata and to subjects from the most backward parts of the empire such as Africa.
The first cannabis legislation in the United Kingdom: the Misuse Of Drugs Act
The culmination of the fight against marijuana production and thus the creation of a series of specific regulations was the Drugs Act.
This legislation classified drugs into three categories, A, B, C, according to their dangerousness. Initially, cannabis was included in the low-risk categories.
With the tightening of the rules, both cannabinol and the term cannabis were introduced in class B drugs and therefore, those that were dangerous to health and could cause damage to it.
So after 1973 in Great Britain if you used cannabis or sold it, you could be arrested. The legislation increased the fight against its use with a sharp slowdown in production.
But the reality was a contradiction.
The number of people in Britain who continued to use cannabis instead of decreasing continued to increase.
Just consider that in 2017 there were about 2.5 million people who used it, feeding a very thriving black market.
This situation led the British government to have to make new choices and thus open the door to the widespread mentality of a medical evaluation of cannabis.
In fact, it is enough to remember that all over the world the years 2016 to 2018 are the years in which the campaign on the positive effects of cannabis has led more and more governments in the world to accept its use for medical use and legalize it.
The United Kingdom towards new regulatory perspectives: the protests of patient associations against the prohibition of marijuana
At this point, you will be wondering what could be the problem of accepting medical cannabis in the UK as well.
Half of Europe has accepted it, and even the United States has definitely softened its spread.
In addition, more and more patient associations are contributing to this new drive. In recent years they have challenged the British government by calling for new legislation and an updated assessment of the medical effects of cannabis.
Throughout Britain, even centres called Socialized Cannabis have spread, not to the marketing of the product but to the culture of the same, breaking the characteristic patterns of preconceptions that for more than a century have been closely linked to the vision of the plant.
The problem that slowed down a change in legislation was closely linked to the basic contradiction: while the sale and cultivation of cannabis for medical use was considered illegal, its therapeutic use is legal.
You might, at this point, be confused and ask yourself how it can be a legal and illegal reality at the same time.
The solution is simple.
Marijuana remains illegal for medical use, so it cannot be prescribed as such, but the sale of the product from a pharmaceutical point of view is accepted, with the creation of only two drugs that are considered approved and therefore usable: Sativex and Nabilone.
Opening up to medical cannabis
Sativex is a drug used not only in Great Britain but worldwide for its beneficial effects on multiple sclerosis patients.
The problem is that if you want to buy a pack, the cost of the product is very high. However, on the back of the results that a drug that uses the active ingredients of marijuana has reported around the world, an attempt has been made to amend the legislation concerning the use of the same for medical purposes.
The regulatory difficulty was always linked to the classification provided for in the Drugs Act.
But in 2001 a new legislative decree changed this division, dividing the controlled substances into 5 tables. Cannabis was introduced in the first of these, which includes substances not intended for medical or therapeutic use, like CBD weed, for example.
Even if a step forward had been taken, medical cannabis was still unrecognized, and if you were found in its possession, you risked a series of economic sanctions and even a probable arrest.
However, this did not stop the British from consuming marijuana.
So in 2016, under the global pressure of the new frontiers of cannabis use, the Medicines Control Agency called for new legislation on sales and production.
1 November 2018 – A breakthrough in cannabis legislation in the UK
Finally, a step forward in the British legislation on the medical use of cannabis was made with the regulation of 1 November 2018.
In fact, cannabis-based medicinal products have been moved from Schedule 1 (which did not consider them to be medically based substances) to Schedule 2, according to which doctors can prescribe them for certain forms of treatment.
The event has consequences that have revolutionized the entire social fabric and realities related to cannabis.
In fact, before this legislation, the use of cannabis was a crime in England. So if you were one of those people who used cannabis for therapeutic purposes, if you found yourself in possession of this substance, you could be subject to very heavy fines and in some cases even to arrest and imprisonment for up to 14 years.
Penalties varied according to the amount of substance you possessed, the use you made of it and where you were.
The current legislation has decriminalized the personal use of cannabis, which must still be consumed for personal use and in a private environment, but is no longer illegal.
It may seem like just a small step, and perhaps for now it is, but it has triggered a number of consequences.
The age of cannabis in the United Kingdom
The Chief Medical Officer’s acceptance of cannabis as a product that can have beneficial effects on the health of the individual was what many people were waiting for.
In fact, this has opened the door to the spread of medical cannabis and the development of centers and shops that can allow its sale and spread in the territory.
A market that has already prompted many investors to build real mega- stores in the City of London where they can market the product.
The only limit, which it is hoped will eventually be exceeded, is that the consumption of medical cannabis continues to be closely linked to the prescription and advice of a doctor.
While many countries, including Italy and even the United States, have paid attention to the need for medical cannabis regulation, Britain still remains perched on a very imprecise and contradictory situation.
On the one hand it has been accepted that the active ingredients of cannabis are useful in the medical field (and for years it has been allowed by the pharmaceutical industry to market drugs based on them), on the other hand the use of marijuana is always linked to the medical prescription and therefore subject to advise and not to the freedom of choice of the subject.
Great Britain is therefore with those countries that in 2019 even after continuous research and scientific demonstrations of the benefits of medical cannabis continue to be very reluctant to liberalize.
The new regulation of 2018 has not led to a real regulation of the product that remains in a real regulatory limbo.
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