Parliament to debate cannabis legalisation next month

The pros and cons of legalising marijuana will be explored by MPs

Parliament will debate the legalisation of cannabis next month, House of Commons authorities have announced.

MPs will consider a proposal to make the “production, sale and use of cannabis legal” on Monday 12 October.

The debate will be held in response to an official petition on the Parliament website that has received over 211,000 signatures as of early September.

The debate will be led by left-wing Labour MP Paul Flynn, a member of Parliament’s petitions committee.

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Paul Flynn is a longstanding advocate of medical cannabis

Mr Flynn has previously called for the legalisation of cannabis for medical use, introducing bills in 1999 and supporting another in concert with Lib Dem MP Tom Brake in 2008.

Next month’s debate is unlikely to lead to any change in the law, though it could put pressure on the Government to act.

The Government’s official response to the petition was negative. It read:  “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health. There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.”

It said legalisation would “send the wrong message”.

 

However a study published this summer in the US found that cannabis users were no more likely than normal to suffer mental health problems including depression, psychosis, or asthma.

While many countries across the developed world have moved to legalise or decriminalise cannabis use, the UK has moved to tighten restrictions on it in recent years.

In 2009 the last Labour government moved its classification back to a Class B drug, meaning anyone caught possessing it can be sent to prison for five years, while anyone who supplies it can be imprisoned for 14 years.

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