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Two-Thirds of Scots Favor Cannabis Policy Reform

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

November 28, 2022

View from the Calton Hill on Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

iStock

Nearly two-thirds of adults in Scotland favor cannabis policy reform in the nation, according to the results of a recently released survey.

, known as the 2021/22 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA), found that 66 percent of Scots either agree or strongly agree that people possessing cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted by the criminal justice system.

The support for cannabis decriminalization illustrated by the survey shows a sharp increase over previous public opinion polls on the topic. The most recent poll shows a near doubling of support for cannabis policy reform change since 2009, when only one-third (34 percent) of respondents said that those possessing cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted.

Support for maintaining the status quo of cannabis prohibition has dropped to a small minority. Less than one-fifth (18 percent) of respondents indicated that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the notion of ending prosecution for possession of personal amounts of cannabis.

The survey found that the strongest support for cannabis policy

came from respondents who admitted that they had used illegal drugs in the past. Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) of those who said they had previously used illicit drugs agreed or strongly agree that people caught with small amounts of cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted. By contrast, less than six out of 10 respondents who did not have a history of illegal drug use agreed with cannabis decriminalization.

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Several Factors Behind Increased Support For Cannabis Policy Reform

Dr. Anna Ross, an expert in drug policy at the University of Edinburgh, said that she believes the jump in support for cannabis policy reform can be attributed to an increasing number of people who openly use medical cannabis, increased acceptance of the plant in the mass media and the rising number of countries around the world that have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis or otherwise eased prohibition policies.

“What this highlights is that public opinion in regards to cannabis is led by the media, and we now have a situation where cannabis is widely accepted by the media as being normal,”

. “We have several countries with a legal adult use market, and the U.S. is leading the way in legalization. I think the increase in support is a reflection of the amount of positive media there is around cannabis.”

Ross also noted that since medical cannabis was legalized in the United Kingdom in 2018, efforts have been taken by activists and patients to destigmatize the use of the plant. Additionally, the significant increase in CBD wellness products available in many areas of the globe has led to an increased awareness of and support for cannabis among older people.

“Support for legal access has increased in the older generation, and more older people either use, or are convinced about the benefits from seeing others use,” Ross said. “Data from countries that have legalized shows an increase in use in the older generation, and interestingly a stabilization or decrease in younger people’s use. It seems like cannabis is slowly becoming acceptable again as a medicinal and therapeutic product.”

“Cannabis was used legitimately for thousands of years before the last 70 years of sustained propaganda on its evils, as a result of moral entrepreneurs and fear around its use by those who challenge the dominant war-mongering neoliberal patriarchal system,” Ross added. “We are starting to see the shift back to normality again.”

A spokesperson for the

lauded the results of the survey, characterizing the findings as a “vote for decriminalisation.”

“This is good news in that it is a majority of those polled. It seems to be a vote for decriminalization,” the spokesperson said. “The problem with decriminalization is that it leaves the growers and suppliers in an illegal setup, like in the Netherlands until recent pilots. At the very least the Scottish Government could allow Home Grown for personal consumption, but not for sale.”

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A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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