For much of the world, there’s been a progressive nature to the legalization, regulation and production of cannabis, with many countries around the world have changed their stance to be more liberal when it comes to the consumption of the drug.
However, reports coming out of the UK are bucking that trend, with senior figures in the government and police pushing forward recommendations that cannabis shouldn’t be legalized, but actually bumped up to a Class A drug.
It comes at an interesting time for the nation and other addictive substances within society. With more people overdosing on opioids than ever before, whilst addiction counselling is becoming more common than ever before, many people are suggesting that the priorities of the government aren’t quite where they should be, and more focus should be given to these problem areas.
Meanwhile, there are no recorded deaths of cannabis overdose worldwide. Compare that to opioid overdoses and between 2008 and 2018, there was an almost 50% increase from 10,805 hospital admissions to 16,091, while deaths today are at crisis levels.
The core reasons for potentially upgrading cannabis to Class A is the claim that the drug is a gateway drug and that it is contributing to a number of crimes.
David Sidwick, who is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, in the South West of the UK, said: "We're seeing it because it's a gateway drug. If you look at the young people in treatment, the number one drug they are in treatment for is cannabis."
"There are so many crimes linked to drugs that, actually, by addressing this, by giving us this clarity, it makes it clearer for our police to be able to do what they need to do."
Naturally, the potential motion has seen its fair share of opposition, with the president of CLEAR, a campaign against the prohibition of the substance, described it as “completely crazy”.
The implications would see people caught in possession of cannabis face up to seven years in prison, while those producing and supplying could face up to life imprisonment, the same as what is the case for the likes of heroin and cocaine.
Other campaigners for the legalisation and regulation of cannabis have also spoken out against the idea, while a professor at Liverpool John Moores University, Harry Sumnall stated, “ "If cannabis was moved to Class A it really risks further criminalisation and further focus by authorities on a small but highly vulnerable population, whose needs are probably best not responded through police action and action through the courts.
"The people who do have problems with cannabis, it’s actually the treatment support, the educational and the harm reduction support that can benefit them most."
It seems that while senior members of the Tory party aren’t ruling out the move, the backlash they could face would alienate the party even further during one of the biggest political crisis’ in British history.