63% of Londoners Support Full Legalization: What’s Next?

The Evening Standard, like many of its Fleet Street contemporaries, is beginning to pick up the cannabis scent in the United Kingdom. In fact, a poll just run by the Standard, finds that amongst their readers at least, 63% of the people polled support full legalization. The UK just implemented its medical cannabis program, still too restrictive at the moment, but, if history is any guide, we can expect support for ending cannabis prohibition for all adults to spread across the nation and political demographics-especially with the media starting to cover cannabis as a mainstream issue.

Beyond the coverage of any one paper however, or the differences in coverage depending on the perspective of the long openly partisan Limey press, what is remarkable, in fact, about the increase in coverage and attention, in general, is that it is suddenly so focussed on the more controversial parts of the industry already. And further, so focussed in a way unlike the major “more respectable” titles – notably like The London Times (paper of the establishment) and of course, The Guardian (founded by British socialists and still overly sympathetic to every little accomplishment of a narrow band of mostly inherited past glories at this point, including dying of late).

What is interesting beyond the flavours of interest, intrigue, acceptance and cynicism however now being reported currently in the UK across the board, is that while the British press has begun to cover developments in the industry, it has also has begun to, for the first time, connect the dots between Canadian firms lobbying for reform access, ahead of greater reform (unlike even in Germany).

Also interesting of course, is the noted reluctance of the political Left (including Jeremy Corbyn or any prominent member of the Labour Party) to engage. Conservative MP Crispin Blunt may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But like other conservatives who are also gay (see Jens Spahn in Germany), on the cannabis issue, Blunt is saying the right things on cannabis. And it was conservatives rather than any member of the “Left” (“old,” “new,” “socialist,” “vanguard,” or whatever other splinter label that has plagued the party for several generations now) that showed up at the week long cannabis convention last week in London.

In fact, what appears to be happening in the UK is a confluence of political, economic and social forces where cannabis is becoming an increasingly important flash if not meeting point for a highly eclectic pool of interests and people.

And like in other places, even far from Brexit, the British are suddenly waking up to the fact that they are being left out of a huge economy while the Canadians and Americans are arriving on British shores – if not speaking at British conventions – and moving in quickly. And like others, are not always copacetic. See the lawsuits in Germany and the move to make the cannabis industry a domestically protected if not promoted crop in countries now all across Europe.

What the press in the UK, in other words, are reflecting, for the first time as a country gets going with legalization, is how much the British – at their peculiar, particular point in national history – are going to proceed from the ground up. And from all indications, it appears that, while slow, cannabis is about to become as British as, well, tea.

Everyone, including the UK, is following in the footsteps of the Canadian cannabis industry, and the International Cannabis Business Conference will have the latest in Vancouver, British Columbia, this September 15-16. Discounted, early bird tickets are available until August 21st.