Despite a petition with over 200,000 signatures and a 2013 Ipso Mori poll showing 53% of Britons supporting a change in the cannabis status quo, the British Government rejected any notion that it might legalize cannabis. Since the petition gained more than 100,000 signatures, it forced the topic for consideration in the British House of Parliament.
The government’s response was stern: “The latest evidence from the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue… Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. Legalization of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families.”
Discouraged but not defeated, Jason Reed, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) UK, told the Guardian that if the debate didn’t make it to parliament, at least the issue had gained publicity. “There will be a preliminary debate, which hopefully we’ll get MPs [members of Parliament] along to,” he said. “This still serves a purpose on educating the public about the merits of drug law reform. There has been a groundswell of support in grassroots action and the public are starting to get it.”