A 2013 Ipsos Mori poll undertaken on behalf of the organisation Transform, suggested that 53% of the UK public supported some form of cannabis legalisation or decriminalisation. But what if the UK government decided follow the example of countries like Canada and Uruguay to legally regulate cannabis for non-medical use? When we move beyond the simple question of whether cannabis should be prohibited or not, many new questions emerge.
For example, what might the market look like and how might we avoid the historical mistakes that led to burdensome industrial epidemics such as obesity, tobacco dependence, and alcohol-related harm? How might we ensure that those members of our community who currently experience cannabis-related harm are not adversely affected by legalisation? What will be the specific challenges and opportunities for policing, education, and treatment? Will informal sources such as cannabis social clubs or home grows be allowed or should there be a state monopoly of supply? What will this all mean for control of other drugs such as ecstasy or heroin? What will actually change for cannabis users in practise? Will the much-discussed perceived benefits or harms of legalisation really emerge and how should these be communicated?