Poll shows 70% of people in the UK think cannabis should be legalised

A poll recently commissioned by Lib Dems for Drug Policy Reform and conducted by Vision Critical shows that 70 per cent of people are in favour of cannabis being legalised.

A poll recently commissioned by Lib Dems for Drug Policy Reform and conducted by Vision Critical shows that 70 per cent of people are in favour of cannabis being legalised. It also shows that more people are in favour of legalising amphetamines (speed), magic mushrooms and mephedrone (the drug recently banned by the government) than are in favour of keeping them prohibited.

For ecstasy there is still a small majority in favour of prohibition (54%) but 39% are in favour of legalisation in some form. Even heroin and cocaine have around a third of people who want to see them legalised. What these findings show is not just that over two thirds of people think that cannabis should be legal, it is that even across other drugs there is not a huge consensus in favour of prohibition either.

At the very least this could be interpreted as there being scope for a proper debate about the future of drugs policy that includes all options and that such an approach would not be as “politically toxic” as many politicians seem to fear. This poll should go some way towards reassuring them that this is not the case.

The poll took a slightly different approach to previous ones in this field. It outlines three scenarios, “Light regulation”, “Strict government control and regulation” and “Prohibition”. It then detailed what each of those categories mean and asked people to say which category they thought a number of currently legal and prohibited drugs should go into.

Some of the demographic breakdown information from the results is interesting too. For example, there is no significant difference between the three different age ranges (18-34, 35-54, 55+) across the different drugs and categories people want to see. There is also little difference between supporters of the main parties; perhaps the results of this poll could be interpreted as giving “permission” for politicians to have that full and open debate.

You can read more information including a more detailed breakdown of the poll methodology and results here. You can also view an interview I conducted back in January with Professor David Nutt, former head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which touched upon some of the issues raised by this poll here.

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