The UK produces more legal cannabis than any other country in the world, according to the UN.
The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has published a report showing that in 2016, we produced 95 tons of above-board weed, which accounts for 44.9% of the global total. Canada was second, producing 80.7 tons. Why is the report about 2016 only coming out now? Well, you know stoners and timekeeping.
The thing is, the UK government don’t accept that cannabis has any medical use. The legal status of cannabis in the UK is pretty complicated even if you haven’t had a big fat joint with your breakfast - the government are happy for weed to be produced, harvested and exported, but not prescribed.
The one exception is a product called Sativex, which can be prescribed for multiple sclerosis and other conditions, but only in Wales. Other licensed products that contain cannabis are prohibited from being prescribed or imported, but if you’re from mainland Europe and prescribed it there, you can bring it here. It’s all deeply confusing and really inconsistent.
Steve Rolles from lobbying group Transform (who count Dame Judi Dench, Brad Pitt, Archbishop Rowan Williams and former US President Jimmy Carter among their supporters), who are massively in favour of legalising medical cannabis, says: “It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government approved medical cannabis production and export market.
“UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily, or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market. Countries with proper access to medical cannabis do not have this problem, as standardised cannabis products are in the hands of doctors and pharmacists.”
Up to a million people in the UK are thought to use cannabis for medical reasons, and most are forced to buy it from drug dealers. It’s a bit dodgy, forcing old people with glaucoma to wander into student unions and sidle up to the most hacky-sack-using, shitty-dreadlock-having, fire-poi-spinning person they can see to find out who they buy from. “Hello, I like your ‘I Like The Pope, The Pope Smokes Dope’ T-shirt, I fought in World War Two, can you introduce me to your drug dealer please? I’m so old. I hurt so much.” It’s unnecessary, sad and dangerous. Duuuuuuuuuude.