Here’s the introduction..
Blazing a trail: as legal cannabis goes global, will Britain be next?
New laws in California and Canada, plus a high-profile UK medical case, have made it safer for nations to come out of the green closet.
Three major developments in June, including the case of a British boy with severe epilepsy, are likely to accelerate international acceptance of marijuana.
On 11 June, Charlotte Caldwell landed at Heathrow airport with her 12-year-old son, Billy, with a six-month supply of cannabis oil, the most effective medicine she’d found for her young child’s epilepsy. She declared the medicine, which she’d legally bought in Canada, to British border officials, who confiscated it, despite Caldwell’s pleas.
Unable to take his medicine, Billy was admitted just a few days later to hospital in “life threatening” condition. Sajid Javid, the home minister, was forced to issue an emergency license to allow doctors to treat Billy with cannabis oil.
The case sparked an outcry, and Javid called for a review of the UK’s medical marijuana policy which recommended that clinicians should be able to prescribe medical marijuana. Inevitably, talk about full legalization has followed. According to recent polls, 82% of Britons support legalizing medical marijuana and 51% support full legalization.
Is it time to legalise medical cannabis in the UK?
Then on 19 June, Canada’s parliament voted to become the first G7 nation to fully legalize, with – legalization day scheduled for 17 October.
Afterwards, the senator Tony Dean told reporters: “We’ve just witnessed a very historic vote that ends 90 years of prohibition.”
In an email, Peter Reynolds, the president of UK cannabis reform group Clear, called Billy’s situation has led to “the most dramatic shift in drugs policy probably since [the Dangerous Drugs Act] of 1925”.