This week saw the first ever digital 4/20. Thousands of cannabis consumers and campaigners usually take to London’s Hyde Park to protest against the UK’s punitive cannabis laws, however this years they took to The High Club YouTube channel.

Who were the speakers?

Dr Danni Gordon

What is cannabis medicine? Well its a broad term for a whole class of medicines. We hoped when the law changed they would be open to everyone but I’m affraid that isn’t how it turned out. Most people who need to access cannabis still dont have access to it. Through prescribing cannabis to my patients, I have found that it isn’t just for chronic pain and can be used for a wide range of conditions. This really is a quality of life medication as well as a very serious medication.

So what does someone have to do if they want to recieve a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK right now? Well, right now you still need a referral from your GP. That being said the good news is that no medical condition is barred.

Sal Noble — CEO of London Canna Group

The struggle to obtain medical cannabis has meant that many patients have had to seek alternatives, such as CBD. In 2019 it’s estimated that over 6m people in the UK tried cbd. There are many obstacles for cbd brands, as many countries across the EU have not clarified their laws and regulation on what products can be sold. It has also been made difficult, as many traditional advertising platforms do no allow the promotion of cannabis products. This means that brands are struggling to educate the audience about their products. The UK government need to move quick on legalisation.

Sir Norman Lamb — former Health Minister

I feel that the way we approach the issue in the UK makes no sense. It also has disastrous consequences. We criminlaize many people which then blights their careers. We need to trust adults to make their judgement on whether they feel they can benefit from medicinal cannabis. The message I would like to share is that change is coming and its just a case of when and not if. Things are happening at great pace in other countries and it will happen here but we can accelerate the pace of change by consistently lobbying our MP’s and the government of the overwhelming case for reform.

Jeff Smith — Labour MP

Cannabis is part of daily life and many people use cannabis in this country without a great deal of harm — thats not to say there isn’t harm associated with smoking cannabis but at the same time, there is harm associated with lots of things. I always liken the way we should treat cannabis with the way we treat alcohol. The way we mitigate the harms with alcohol is to regulate it and make sure the products are safe and people aren’t getting them from criminal gangs. I think we should treat cannabis in the same way we treat alcohol. We have set up a labour campaign for drug policy reform and we think cannabis should be legalised and regulated.

Siobhan Benita — Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate

Campaigning has had an impact, for example I have had an article published in the Evening Standard and the Guardian. Sadiq Khan (current Mayor of London) started to respond to that pressure and said that its time to have a conversation on drug reform. What I’m calling for is to pilot a legalised market in London. This is not a hugely controversial thing anymore and you have other countries you can learn from in terms of how they have bought in regulation and what has and hasn’t worked. The message from me is that things are changing — we are closer than we have ever been.

Crispin Blunt — Conservative MP

There are lots of different legalisations of cannabis and the only legalisation we have undergone so far is medical cannabis. That has then created a lot of conversation around the delivery of this over the last 18 months. We want to now look at evidence from the countries that have legalised for adult use and learn our lessons on the right way to move forward. I want to engage and I urge people to move on from the politics of protest and change to a focus on delivery.

The Data

Data from a recent YouGov survey shows that the UK is now broadly in support of cannabis legalisation, with 53% in favour, 32% in opposition and the rest undecided. Cross-party support for legislation change also appears to be growing, with MP’s from all major parties campaigning for a health based approach.

Finally, THC presenter Amira Malek urged that we need our voices heard and recapped on the 7 point manifesto to legalise.

  1. It will give millions of people who are in need of cannabis for medical reasons the access without implicating them in criminal conduct.
  2. Reduce children’s access to cannabis by introducing legal age limits for cannabis use.
  3. Create an estimated tax revenue of £1 billion per year which could and should be spent on public services.
  4. Shrink the size of the illicit cannabis market and it’s associated violence and exploitations.
  5. Take an estimate £2.5 billion a year out of the hands of criminals and the black market, and brings this money into the regular economy.
  6. Criminalising people who consume cannabis ruins lives and creates barriers to accessing help and support.
  7. And finally, by legalising cannabis, we can free up police resources that can be used to prevent and solve more serious crimes.

Thank you to all those involved in bringing us the first digital 4/20 — The High Club, Volteface and London Canna Group.