Published : 07/11/2019 12:09:23
Categories : Marijuana and cannabis Blog
Like the USA, the UK is slowly warming up to the cannabis craze. Indeed, a landmark 2018 decision out of Parliament downgraded cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 status mainly to help doctors prescribe the drug. Although UK law might be relaxing a bit, that doesn't mean you could break our bongs by Buckingham just yet. There are many important restrictions on the buying, selling, growing, and smoking of cannabis still on the books. If you're caught breaking any of these laws, you could face serious financial penalties and even jail time.
Let's run through all the legal issues surrounding cannabis in the land of tea and crumpets.
For a nation that's so strict on the use of cannabis, the UK's laws surrounding cannabis seeds are surprisingly lenient. Interestingly, it's completely legal for anyone to purchase or sell dormant cannabis seeds in the UK. You also won't face prosecution if you're caught with unplanted cannabis seeds in your home.
Shop owners who sell cannabis seeds, however, should place labels on all of their products that make it clear they aren't intended for planting. Cannabis seeds should only be used for recreational purposes like fishing or feeding birds. Customers should also err on the side of caution and just keep their yapper shut when buying cannabis seeds. Even if you're asking about growing marijuana purely out of curiosity, these questions could easily be taken the wrong way and vendors could refuse to sell you cannabis seeds.
Since marijuana remains Schedule 2 drug in the UK, it's illegal to plant cannabis seeds. This also means, of course, that it's illegal to sell, share, or possess weed in the UK. You could face as high as 14 years in prison and/or a hefty fine if you're caught in any of these scenarios.
The only time police will make an exception is if you're only caught with a very tiny amount of cannabis (about one ounce) in your possession. It's not a wise strategy, however, to bet on catching a chill cop. You could also legally use marijuana for a legitimate medical purpose, but we'll get to that a bit later.
Obviously, since it's illegal to grow, sell, or possess weed, you also can't smoke cannabis recreationally in the UK. Anyone caught in the act of ingesting weed could face several years in jail and an unlimited fine.
Despite this legal status, marijuana remains one of the most common illegal recreational drugs used in the UK. Government statistics reveal about 7 percent of UK's population has used or is using marijuana recreationally, and the drug is especially popular with young adults.
Because marijuana is so commonly used in the UK, some police forces have begun reducing the number of cops focused on this issue. For instance, officers in Durham told the press they aren't prioritizing the search and seizure of marijuana. Even though local officers might have different priorities, this doesn't change the national policy on marijuana use.
As mentioned in the intro, cannabis was downgraded to Schedule 2 status in 2018. This means UK specialists can legally prescribe cannabis to patients with certain ailments. While this new legislation opens the doors to the UK's budding medicinal cannabis industry, keep in mind that this is only the first step. Indeed, the NHS admits it's having a difficult time adequately filling out new requests for medicinal cannabis.
One of the major issues surrounding medicinal cannabis has to do with licensing. There are currently only a few cannabis drugs on the market that have gone through rigorous pharmaceutical testing, and research into cannabis's medicinal potential is still only in the initial phases. The drug industry is struggling to figure out how to adequately regulate herbal, oil, and tincture formulas of cannabis, especially considering different strains of this drug could have significantly different physiological effects.
There are, however, two cannabis-infused drugs that are widely recognized by the medical establishment. Anyone in the UK who suffers from multiple sclerosis or epilepsy should ask their doctor about Sativex or Epidiolex, respectively. Both of these cannabis-derived drugs have been manufactured and tested for these specific diseases.
Another question UK residents have about cannabis regards the legal status of the popular compound cannabidiol (CBD). Found mainly in the hemp plant, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that some claim helps with a myriad of health conditions ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
The UK law currently allows for the purchase, sale, and consumption of CBD products that have been extracted from EU-approved hemp. Also, all legal CBD goods should have no more than 0.2 percent of the high-inducing cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
As the 21st century rolls on, it's likely Westminster will roll back their restrictive laws on cannabis. Indeed, recent UK surveys suggest public support only continues to grow for cannabis legalization. Although the future of cannabis legalization looks bright, UK residents must educate themselves on the current rights and restrictions related to weed.
The condensed version of the UK cannabis laws is that citizens can buy and sell cannabis seeds, but they cannot grow, possess, sell, or use the marijuana plant. The only exceptions to this rule are if you use a hemp-derived CBD product or have a prescription for medical marijuana from your doctor. To better understand cannabis's sticky legal status in the UK, you can read through the country's "Controlled Drugs List" on this official website.