Something unexpected happened in the world of legal marijuana.
For decades, the United Kingdom has taken a much softer stance on marijuana than we have in the United States. Although laws have become less strict and then more strict once again over the past decade, moving from Schedule 2 to Schedule 3 and then back again, marijuana has never been a Schedule 1 drug (or “Class A”, as they say over the pond) in the United Kingdom. And so, for many Brits and Americans alike, it’s been something of a shock to watch as legal marijuana gains ground in the United States while it flounders over in Londontown.
This year, however, legal marijuana in the United Kingdom is officially part of the debate as the country moves towards elections. And since we assume that you probably don’t follow British politics, we’re here to break the political parties down for you and help you brush up on their stance towards the plant.
The center-left party, which is surging ahead from a distant second in the polls, hasn’t put legalization on their 2017 election manifesto. That said, party leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated that he supports medical marijuana. A Labour Party win would leave a path – albeit a narrow one – towards liberalization in the UK.
The British Conservative Party, otherwise known as the Tories, are just about as anti-weed as you can get. If they continue to hold power, progress is unlikely.
The Liberal Democrats
A perennial third party in British politics, the Lib-Dems have, for the first time in 2017, made marijuana legalization a part of their party manifesto. If they do well in polls and form a coalition with Labour in the lead, they may well push Labour towards medical legalization.
The British Green Party has supported legal marijuana for about twenty years. They have very little chance of a solid showing in the polls.
The UK Independence Party is what you would get if you took the bottom half of Trump’s base and formed a racist and xenophobic party that functioned to the right of the Republicans. They won’t win many seats. They really hate marijuana.