Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now

with 9 comments

1. Popularity

Polls confirm that a majority of British voters support reform of our cannabis laws. More than three-quarters are strongly supportive of medicinal cannabis.  There has been a sea change in attitude, also strongly accelerated by the rise of the CBD market, itself born entirely out of small, entrepreneurial British businesses. Boris could catch this wave, delight more than half of the electorate immediately with a bold, radical move and dispel much of the ‘nasty party’, authoritarian mood that has come out of the Covid crisis. Properly explained, a new policy can also deal with the concerns that still remain about cannabis. It should be presented as a solution to the four further reasons set out below and because, in 2020 no one wants to see their son, daughter, mother or father turned into a criminal just for cannabis.  A large majority of electors support this.

2. Mental health

For many years, politicians have been advocating that mental health should be treated with the same priority as physical health. The Conservative Party has promised it repeatedly over the past decade. For those that fear cannabis contributes to young people’s problems, legal regulation is, without doubt, the solution. Age limits and licensed rather than criminal distribution channels will minimuse underage use. Proper labelling and limits on THC content of licensed cannabis will protect against the negative effects of so-called ‘skunk’.  For the millions that we know already use cannabis actually to help with their mental health, particularly during lockdown, it will enable access to new, safely controlled and designed products with ideal ratios of CBD and other ingredients. These will be far preferable to the massive bill both in NHS expenditure and side effects that we currently pay for tranquilisers, anti-depressants, sleeping and anxiety medicines.

3. Tax revenue

The potential for an enormous net gain to the British economy, turning what is now only a drain on resources into a new revenue stream is huge. Serious, erudite work has been completed by a number of well-respected institutions. The most pessimistic estimate a net gain of about £1 billion. The most optimistic projections are 10 times as much. Looking to actual experience around the world, most likely is somewhere in the middle, perhaps around the £6.7 billion that the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit calculated in its 2011 study. As we emerge from the Covid crisis into a deep recession, cutting our costs and increasing our income are going to be vital and cannabis isn’t going away. We have to choose whether to waste money on it or make money from it. Cannabis legalisation won’t just cover its own costs but provide billions more that can be added to the public expenditure budget – and we are going to need every penny.

4. Jobs

About 250,000 people work in the legal cannabis industry in the USA and numbers are expected to grow significantly as legalisation expands. That’s equivalent to creating about 50,000 new jobs in the UK. A legally regulated cannabis industry would create huge investment in sophisticated cultivation and production facilities, distribution and retail channels. The CBD industry has already created hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs in the way that only new industries can. We can already see that the push back from big business and big pharma that have missed out on this boom is about destroying jobs and stifling innovation. The path that the EU and the FSA are trying to force the CBD industry down is really about protectionism for the established pharmaceutical and supplement industries.  We are going to need new markets, new thinking and fresh ideas to create new jobs.

5. Crime and violence

The long held ‘gateway’ myth that consuming cannabis ‘leads on to harder drugs’ has been disproven over and over again by science. It’s still strangely prevalent amongst the poorly informed but even the UK government’s expert advisors formally rejected it in 2008. The laws against cannabis and the £6 billion criminal market that they have created is the gateway to deliquency, knife crime, county lines exploitation and hard drugs. The police and our political leaders have found themselves on the same side as organised crime, for they share the desire to keep cannabis banned. The public demand is not going away and a responsible government would act to regulate the market, to make it safer and to protect consumers. The criminal cannabis market is how young people get groomed and enticed into county lines and it’s what drives knife crime. It drives and funds much more serious crime. It is undermining our society. It really is one of the most idiotic, irrational and counterproductive of all government policies.  A legally regulated market will pull the rug from under this nightmare scenario.  As Canada has proved, within two years, around 50% of the market has already moved to legal channels and the damage caused by nearly a century of prohibition is gradually being undone.

Written by Peter Reynolds

October 3, 2020 at 4:30 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Nothing to disagree with there, a good summary Peter.

    One comment though:

    “Age limits and … limits on THC content of licensed cannabis…”

    you’re advocating limits on THC? I’m surprised. I don’t disagree though.

    Derek Williams

    October 3, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    • It will just drive those who want higher THC products to the black market or GYO. But note I specified the THC content of licensed cannabis which could very easily be controlled under the licensing provisions and if you exceeded it your crop would have to be destroyed!

      It would soon bring the average THC content down.

      Peter Reynolds

      October 3, 2020 at 5:21 pm

      • Yeah I get that and I agree. It would mean a cap on THC content of the commercial product in effect.

        I think it’s a good idea as long as you’re talking ratio THC/CBD and not simply the actual amount of THC per gram of sample which would be meaningless in terms of the reefer madness issue. Strength isn’t potency.


        October 3, 2020 at 5:57 pm

  2. if government isn’t legalising cannabis itself lt’s because it’s been paid not to! lobby group are the biggest block on legalise cannabis! personally i believe all recreational drugs should be legal but one step at a time! every point youve made is correct! you need to get a strong lobby group behind you to achieve it!

    Stephen Brophy

    October 5, 2020 at 12:18 pm

  3. I can agree with age limits pickney need to enjoy being pickney.
    But limits on THC and talk of licensed and specially designed Cannabis is just talking folly like Babylon with their supposed super strong skunk.
    One of the highest levels of THC for a strain I have seen is Black Russian at 30% which is still not guaranteed. The end product and strength is down to the growing conditions and the point at which the plant is harvested.
    Trichomes start off transparent, then as they age and the plant ripens they become milky and opaque at this point most people consider the collie ripe and ready to cut, some like to leave it longer until they see plenty of amber trichomes, the vibe is more narcotic, what you know as a couch lock type vibe.
    Babylon doesn’t have a clue about collie and it strength, what about hashish.
    For example if take some bud and make hash using ice and water or you dry sift or beat the shit out of the plant like the Arabs then the THC will be around 20% then if you decarboxylate the hash by applying heat it will increase the potency.
    With charas as your rub up the resin on your hands and make it into a ball the heat generated will start to decarboxylate the Cannabinoids in the resin.
    Bear in mind that in all the countries where they produce hash nobody smokes fresh, what they smoke has cured over a couple of years to allow it to naturally decarboxylate, so the hash will have THC at 40% and upwards.
    This talk of designing strains is folly, you can create a new cultivar that produces a profile of Cannabinoids in the ratios required, this takes time and effort.
    Babylon and the CBD snake oil sales people make it sound like the Cannabinoids are like Lego block components or ingredients you can pick and choose this is not true only the ignorant believe this.
    I would advise checking out Frenchy Cannoli on You Tube an watch his video the lost art of the Hashishin.
    As Frenchy points out Cannabis resin is just like a grape in that you can process it and end up with a bespoke premium quality product.


    October 15, 2020 at 2:08 pm

  4. It would be perfect time and very unifying.


    October 24, 2020 at 12:21 pm

  5. […] Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now […]

  6. […] Five Reasons Why Boris Johnson Should Legalise Cannabis Now […]

  7. I pretty much agree with you reasoning Peter as you know, although I would say that proper labeling and regulation of potency would be a better way of saying it than “limits on THC content”. Remember, Sativex at 50% THC is a low potency product because of the equally high level of CBD.

    Much as there are good reasons for arguing against the cod science of people like Marta Deforti of KCL the claims they make are very influential and revolve around the THC:CBD ratio. Therefore use their argument to talk about regulating potency, not THC level. Remember, a sample with 3% THC and virtually no CBD is – according to Marta’s “research” – just as harmful as “mind bening skunk”, you just need to roll bigger joints.

    But the biggest flaw in your reasoning is you still think Johnson is open to reasoned debate, he isn’t. He will do what his rich mates making a killing off medi cannabis want him to do.


    January 29, 2021 at 11:48 am

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