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Which political parties want to legalise weed?

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Tomasz Frymorgen

The Liberal Democrats recently revealed a manifesto pledge to bring about a fully regulated cannabis market in the UK.

They said the sale and production of the drug could raise up to £1bn in taxes and save tens of millions of pounds in ‘wasted’ police hours.

Right now, cannabis is a class 'B' drug, meaning that anyone caught in possession of it could be given up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both - though many say the law is not enforced.

Supply of the drug gets a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The Liberal Democrats estimate that, in 2015, one million police hours (costing £31 million) were spent dealing with cannabis-related crime.

The party proposes strictly controlling cannabis quality to reduce harmful chemicals. The drug would go on sale to over 18s via licensed cannabis shops, similar to systems operated in several US states.

That contrasts sharply with both the Conservative and Labour standpoints on cannabis control.

Conservatives

The Conservative Party supports current drug prohibition policies.

A Conservative party spokesperson told us, "There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people's mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities. We have no plans to change the law."

Labour

Last year, the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was in favour of decriminalising cannabis for medicinal use.

But Labour remains opposed to legalisation.

A spokesperson told us, "We do not support the legalisation of cannabis. Our goal is to see fewer people start using drugs, more people helped by treatment towards a drug-free life, and a reduction in the damage which problem drug users can cause to communities."

Greens

The Green Party has been in favour of cannabis decriminalisation since the party was formed in 1990.

The party’s policy statement says, "Cannabis would be removed from the 1971 Misuse of drugs act. The possession, trade and cultivation of cannabis would be immediately decriminalised, roughly following the Dutch model. The trade in Cannabis would be the subject of a Royal Commission… with a view to establishing a fully legalised, controlled and regulated trade."

UKIP

UKIP have said in the past that they wouldn’t change drug laws, but would focus on punishing suppliers, rather than users.

They didn’t get back to us about their current policy on cannabis.

SNP

In October 2016, the Scottish National Party conference called for the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.

An SNP spokesperson said: "The SNP are not in favour of general decriminalisation of cannabis, but clearly there is a specific case for medicinal use - such as in the case of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine used to treat MS and available on the NHS."

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru also supports the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. The party conference introduced a policy in favour of medicinal-purpose cannabis decriminalisation back in 2001.

A spokesperson told us, "I can confirm that we support the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use, and that we have worked with the Police and Crime Commissioners on this issue."

So, now you know.

Want to know more?

Take a more detailed look at the Lib Dem's £1bn tax revenue claim.