Possession of cannabis in the UK is currently punishable by up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine. On January 23, 2019, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London attempted to hold a debate on the British laws that criminalize cannabis use. But it didn’t take place because none of the psychiatrists present were willing to argue for criminalization. Instead of a debate, David Nutt of the Imperial College of London gave a speech. Nutt highlighted – as many have before him – how criminalizing the use of any drug worsens the lives of both casual users and addicts. He also noted that fears of cannabis in the UK are overblown: “[D]espite a 20-fold increase in cannabis use over the past 50 years, prevalence and incidence of schizophrenia … [has] not increased anywhere near in step.” It is unlikely that these facts will sway the opinion of British regulators. After Nutt criticized the UK’s unscientific classification of drugs back in 2009, he was fired from chairing the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Many other organizations, including the Royal Society for Public Health, the Royal College of Physicians, and the British Medical Journal also currently support decriminalizing all drugs.
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