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Legalized Marijuana Coming Soon: UK & Australia

Jul 30, 2015 • 1:27 PM EDT
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3 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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The history of cannabis dates back thousands of years. Archeologists found cannabis seeds inside Siberian burial mounds from 3000 B.C. Thousands of years ago, the Chinese used cannabis as a medicine. The United States is in the middle of a marijuana revolution and 40 states have legalized some form of marijuana. This revolution, however, is not just taking place in the United States. We are seeing marijuana reform taking place all around the world.

Earlier this year, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order to legalize medical marijuana. In 2014, Uruguay legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands all have legal medical marijuana programs. Portugal and a number of other countries have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

We can now add the United Kingdom and Australia to that growing list.

Australia

Despite regulatory complications with Australian and international law, a Senate committee which represents all of Australia’s major political parties is drafting a bill that will legalize medical marijuana. The bill gives federal regulators the authority to oversee production, distribution and medical use throughout the nation.

The committee consists of leaders from the Coalition, the Labor Party and crossbench senators. In August, the committee will recommend this bill to parliament.

Martin Bowles, secretary of the Health Department, thinks the bill does not acknowledge legal and social issues which could result from overlapping laws and a lack of clarity regarding jurisdiction.

Last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbot publicly expressed his support for the bill by saying, “I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates.”

A recent poll conducted by Palliative Care Australia found that over two-thirds of the country supports medical marijuana and only 9% oppose it.

United Kingdom

As of July 27, 2015, an online petition for the legalization of marijuana in the United Kingdom obtained more than 150,000 signatures. The petition wants parliament to legalize the production, sale and use of cannabis. The British government responds to any petition that acquires more than 10,000 signatures. If a petition gets more than 100,000 signatures, a formal debate with parliament can be scheduled.

James Richard Owen created the petition and says that if marijuana was legal in the UK, it could generate more than 900 million pounds ($1.4 billion) in annual tax revenue and save 400 million pounds ($622 million) from reducing the police effort against cannabis.

Marijuana has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 1928 after the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1926 was passed. Despite the harsh criminal penalties associated with using and handling marijuana, nearly 2 million British citizens admitted to using cannabis last year.

Outlook

Support for legal marijuana continues to grow at rapid rates all over the world. In May, thousands of pro-marijuana rallies took place all over the world which further proves that the world is ready for change. Governments need to be proactive when it comes to important social issues like marijuana. Change is coming. The legalization of marijuana is no longer a question of if, but when. Governments continue to delay the inevitable which is time consuming, expensive, and completely unnecessary.  

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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Technical420.com. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.

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