Newsbeat

Cannabis in the UK: Your views on making it legal

Cannabis plants Image copyright Getty Images

People have been debating whether to legalise cannabis in the UK for decades, and the response from government has always been no, so far.

Last year the law changed when it came to some medical use of the drug.

A group of MPs recently visited Canada - where recreational cannabis was made legal in October - and told Radio 1 Newsbeat they think the UK will legalise the drug within 10 years.

Our documentary, Legalising Weed: Canada's Story, came out this week - and since then you've been telling us what you think about making cannabis legal in the UK.

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Media captionCannabis: Should it be legal?

Whenever Newsbeat discusses the subject we get lots of very strong views on all sides and this was no exception.

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It wasn't just on social media that we saw a lot of debate.

"I think cannabis should be made legal because it stops people going to street dealers that can then try to push other drugs like cocaine and ecstasy," said 23-year-old Ryan from Birmingham.

He featured in our radio programme, as did Sam - who doesn't want to see a change to the law.

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Media captionLegalising Weed: Canada's Story

Sam told us he feels he's lost his step-brother to cannabis.

"He was doing well at school and then his friends introduced him to cannabis. Now he doesn't have a job and he's been in trouble with the police," he told us.

"It's sad to see because he could have had a great future."

Currently cannabis is designated as a Class B drug in the UK and anyone caught with it could face up to five years in prison.

However, there has been a shift in approach towards medicinal cannabis products, which can now be legally prescribed to some patients.

The debate around mental health

Using very strong cannabis - commonly called skunk - has been linked to serious mental illnesses.

This is disputed by some pro-cannabis groups and the debate around whether we should legalise the drug often centres on this.

We heard from Sarah who works in mental health. She doesn't want to see the laws changed when it comes to cannabis.

"It is a gateway drug and the effect can be like opening Pandora's box with serious mental health issues from which some people never recover."

On the other side of this argument we heard from Ailsa in Glasgow who thinks we should follow Canada's lead.

"With any drug there will always be people who take it too far and that's the same for legal drugs like alcohol.

"If cannabis is legalised then there should be a system that runs alongside it that can help people who have a problem with the substance."

The political debate

As part of our Canada cannabis coverage we posted a video of serving MP Sir Norman Lamb taking the drug - and that got you talking too.

As you would expect, the MPs we followed on the trip joined the debate.

We even had a well-known billionaire join in the discussion.

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