The Liberal Democrats are getting high(-er poll ratings), after they said they will legalise cannabis

Emma Haslett
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Two Liberal Democrats enjoy the sunshine (Source: Getty)

It turns out it's not just the left hand side with a hankering after the duchie, after the Liberal Democrats unveiled plans to legalise cannabis.

In a manifesto pledge made today, the Lib Dems said they wanted to put the drug under a "system of strict legal regulation" with new rules on who can buy and sell it and introducing limits on its potency.

The move will "take back control from criminal gangs, take ‘skunk’ off the streets, and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis", the party said.

Julian Huppert, the Lib Dems' candidate for Cambridge, and a former member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, pointed out that cannabis is both "freely available and widely used", but generates "significant health problems and vast profits for organised

“The current approach is a disaster for young people, whose mental and physical health is being harmed by an increasingly potent product. There are no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength. ‘Skunk’ is widespread and the only ID you need to buy it is a £20 note," he added.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.

“We will restrict the market to over-18s. We will make cannabis safer by limiting THC content and requiring all products to contain CBD, which has been bred out of ‘skunk’ and counteracts the harmful effects of THC [the active ingredient in cannabis]. And we will invest tax revenues of up to £1bn in education and treatment.”

Cannabis was briefly downgraded from a Class B drug to a Class C drug in 2004, but was upgraded again in 2009.

In November last year a report by the Adam Smith Institute, which was backed by MPs from most major parties, suggested the UK's cannabis market is worth £6.8bn a year, and that legalising it could save the Treasury £1bn a year.

Read more: UK has a future as a cannabis hub, says biotech company

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