TODAY is 4/20, otherwise affectionately known as “weed day,” when the dealers cash in on their summer bonuses and cannabis users get to do what they do best for a fraction of the usual selling price.
I find 4/20 to be the most humorous event on the holiday calendar purely for the media frenzy it seems to generate year after year. What many pro-cannabis activists consider to be a celebration of the drug have historically been hit by more backlash than support, with the media and public denouncing them as good-for-nothing stoners, striking them with damning comments such as “how can you care about weed when there’s a war going on?” etc. etc.
But with the recent additions of California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada all passing measures legalising recreational marijuana, is weed the new norm and will the UK be likely to follow suit?
There have been several attempts by the UK government to demonise cannabis, linking its usage to the onset of mental health issues, such as bipolar and schizophrenia. Just check out this FRANK advertisement from 2009, which is just full of scientific evidence *rolls eyes*
Truth be told, although I am quite proud of my A in GCSE Biology, I am not here to preach to you the medical benefits of marijuana. For that, you can check out Culture High on Netflix which, if you ever needed an excuse to watch something, features the 4/20 King himself, Snoop Dogg, at his finest.
The marijuana trade in the UK is currently worth £6.8bn a year. Financial gains aside, one of the main ingredients in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD), which the MHRA concluded could be used for medical purposes.
Britain currently has a gaping hole in its wallet that is only set to get bigger post-Brexit/post-election/post-the end of the world and our NHS system is overstretched, underfinanced and in crisis. On the surface, it seems as though this little green plant could at least partially be the answer to a few of our government’s many, many problems.
Well, surprise, surprise because the government isn’t built on fact. The issue was last debated in Parliament in 2015, but was shut down with the characteristically vague response: “substantial scientific evidence show cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.” It should be noted that this “substantial scientific evidence” was nowhere to be found.
So, with the killjoys that are the Home Office announcing last month that there are no plans to legalise the drug, it seems unlikely that the UK will be blazing up anytime soon. But let’s analyse public opinion on cannabis in a little more detail for the LOLZ.
My final and definite conclusion is that no one gives a shit about cannabis. With everything going on in our tiny words right now (post-Brexit/post-election, need I repeat myself?), the moral implications of your next door neighbour lighting a spliff is the last thing on people’s minds right now.
I put the government’s reluctance to legalise marijuana down to multiple conspiracy theories which I will not go into for the sake of my allocated word count and everyone’s sanity (but these are elaborated upon in the documentary, should you be interested) and the well-known fact that politicians do not live in the “real world” like the rest of us.
Cannabis is everywhere. I run past my local school every day and smell it in the lunchtime air. It’s at every house party, it’s hidden away under most young adults’ beds.
Cannabis is also cheaper than most drugs at street value, and for this reason, it’s known as the ‘ghetto drug,’ a favourite amongst the jobless working-class which only furthers their laziness, stupidity and unconcern (not my words, but check Theresa May’s voicemail.)
Whilst this may have been true years ago when we didn’t have the internet to teach us what adults refused to tell us, it’s no longer the case. Cannabis doesn’t discriminate, and is used by young, old, rich, poor, black and white- and every one of these people has their own reasons for doing so.
“To put the cannabis conundrum to bed once and for all, we need to stop caring about the so-called “harmful” effects of weed that the government keeps fabricating.”
My opinions on cannabis drastically changed when I visited Amsterdam (cliché, I know). Marijuana is not technically legal there, although it is widely tolerated. Coffeeshop staff are very informed about the effect of each strain and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. This is perhaps why many kush newbies smoke their first joint in Amsterdam because they can consume it in an informed environment in which weed is deemed both safe and regulated. Anyone having preconceived ideas about Amsterdam being filled with zombified stoners will be sadly mistaken, for the city is home to some of the healthiest and happiest people I have ever encountered.
To put the cannabis conundrum to bed once and for all, we need to stop caring about the so-called “harmful” effects of weed that the government keeps fabricating. However, as with any drug, we also need to educate ourselves. Weed is not a one-smoke-cures-all drug, and it can lead to bad user experiences if they are ill-informed about its origins, its effect and how best to consume it.
If the gathering of hundreds of pro-marijuana supporters in London’s Hyde Park and other locations across the UK today is anything to go by, weed lovers aren’t putting down their lighters any time soon.