Cannabis Should be Legalised, Say Half of Britons
By Hannah Osborne | February 19, 2013 9:47 PM EST
Over half of people in Britain want cannabis legalised or its possession decriminalised, according to the results of a poll.
According to an Ipsos Mori survey, 53 percent of Britons say they want the drug downgraded and 67 percent say they want a comprehensive overview of the country's approach to drugs.
The survey, published by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, also found support for cannabis legalisation was high among Conservative voters.
It showed that 50 percent of Conservatives and 55 percent of Labour voters say cannabis should be legally regulated or decriminalised.
The survey found that many tabloid readers also support the findings - 46 perent of Daily Mail readers want the drug made legal.
Just 14 percent of the public and 17 percent of Daily Mail readers support tougher enforcement and heavier penalties for cannabis offences.
A spokesperson for Transform said: "These results show just how far ahead of politicians the public are.
"While Labour and Conservative politicians shy away from the debate on drugs, around half of their supporters want to see legal regulation of cannabis production and supply or decriminalisation of cannabis possession, and a significant majority want a comprehensive review of our approach to drugs - including consideration of legal regulation.
"The poll demonstrates that even among Daily Mail readers, almost half support less punitive approaches to cannabis, and a majority back an independent review of all options, which may come as a surprise to the paper's editors."
Coalition should experiment
In October, the UK Drug Policy Commission published a report that said cannabis should be legalised and people should be able to grow it for personal use.
Huge amounts of time and money were spent enforcing cannabis laws and allowing people to possess small amounts of the drug would significantly cut costs, it said.
Evidence from countries shows that legalising cannabis would not lead to a significant increase in use, it continued.
The Ipsos Mori poll found that 40 percent of Britons support a Portugal-style system, where it is legal to possess small quantities of cannabis.
"Politicians have repeated their 'tough on drugs' propaganda for so long that they assume the public are more fearful of change than they really are," the spokesperson said.
"The world has changed and the public are far more progressive than was thought - right across the political spectrum.
"At the very least, the government should heed longstanding and growing calls for a review of all policy options, including legal regulation. And as a matter of urgency the coalition should engage in experiments in the Portuguese-style decriminalisation of possession of drugs for personal use.
"Now is the time for the heads of all parties to show the leadership citizens surely deserve."
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