This year’s celebration of cannabis has received unprecedented political support, which according to advocates, could be a sign that legalisation is around the corner.
YouGov polling data has shown that the UK is now broadly in support of cannabis legalisation, with 53% in favour, 32% in opposition and the rest undecided.
What is 4/20?
For almost 50 years, people who consume and advocate for cannabis have come together around the world on April 20. It’s a tradition which originated in California.
In the UK, London’s Hyde Park is the birthplace of protest against the UK’s punitive cannabis laws.
Ahead of this year’s call for legalisation, The High Club’s Marwan Elgamal, lead organiser of London’s 4/20 celebration, said:
“This year’s annual 4/20 Hyde Park rally in London is going online. We are broadcasting a digital version of this year’s programme to the thousands who usually turn up to the live event. Our aim is to continue to give the cannabis movement a platform to campaign on and spark online activism.”
What’s special about 4/20-20?
For the first time, 4/20 will hear from British politicians who have campaigned for cannabis law reform, with a line up that includes:
- Conservative MP Crispin Blunt
- Labour MP Jeff Smith
- Green Party MP Caroline Lucas
- Conservative GLA Member Andrew Boff
- Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita
- Former health minister Sir Norman Lamb
Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate, Co-Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform and Chairman of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, said:
“We have known for a long time that prohibition has seriously bad outcomes for society including health, crime, child protection and exploitation and a large business handed straight over to criminals. This approach has failed, wasting police time and taxpayers money. Our approach to cannabis, and indeed all drug policy, should be able to proceed on the basis of the evidence.”
Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Withington, Co-Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform and co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform, said:
“Our cannabis laws are not fit for purpose and the cannabis using community has an important role to play in bringing about the kind of change we’re seeing in other countries and U.S. states. It’s time to end the stigmatisation and criminalisation of people who consume cannabis, and adopt a harm reduction focused approach. I’m impressed by the dynamism of campaigners, who are continuing to work on this issue through online activism.”
Sign the petition to support cannabis legalisation for adults in the UK
This 4/20 broadcast debut seeks to inspire viewers to mobilise on the issue of cannabis legalisation in the UK. Viwers can expect to hear of a new petition, which will be made available to sign in support of the organiser’s plea to parliament, to:
“Make the cultivation, production, sale and use of cannabis legal for adults.’’
Canada, Uruguay and 11 US states have legalised cannabis for recreational use in recent years.
Liz McCulloch from the drug reform advocacy organisation Volteface, said:
“4/20 is a celebration of the cannabis movement and a coming together of a community that has been plagued by stigma. We wanted to bring politicians together with this movement to rally, campaign and inspire a wave of activism, all through a virtual platform. This virtual event is the biggest political endorsement cannabis activism has ever received, and signals that cannabis is fast moving out of the margins and into the mainstream.”
Other states which have moved to legalise cannabis
- In 2013, Uruguay became the first nation to legalise cannabis in a bid to curb crime.
- In 2018, Canada followed suit.
- In the US, recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states for adults over the age of 21 wile medical cannabis is legal in 33 states.