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Renewed calls for government to legalise cannabis

BEHIND THE TIMES: The government's policy on cannabis has been deemed out of date by critics

FORMER LEADER of the Conservative party William Hague has called on the prime minister to legalise cannabis.

Hague criticised the UK’s policy on the class b drug, calling it “inappropriate, ineffective and utterly out of date” and stating that the “battle is effectively over”.

The government’s policy on the substance has been the subject of renewed debate after a number of high profile cases of individuals who rely on medical grade cannabis to manage health conditions.

Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy, takes cannabis oil medication to alleviate his seizures.

The medication that is vital to his care was confiscated by border force officials when his mother was bringing it to the UK from Canada last week.

The Home Office has since returned the medication to Billy and his family after he suffered a seizure and had to be hospitalised.

His mother, Charlotte, said that he was admitted to hospital in a “life-threatening condition”.

He has been given a licence to use the banned substance for 20 days.

Canada has announced it is legalising the drug for recreational use.

Writing in the Telegraph, Hague expressed his support for a discussion on whether cannabis for recreational use, as well as medical, could be right for the UK.

“It must now be asked whether Britain should join the many other countries that permit medical-grade marijuana, or indeed join Canada in preparing for a lawful, regulated market in cannabis for recreational use as well,” he wrote.

Despite the growing pressure to review the policy on the drug, May has declined to support plans to legalise it.

May said that decisions need to be guided by clinicians.

She said: “There’s a very good reason why we’ve got a set of rules around cannabis and other drugs because of the impact that they have on people’s lives and we must never forget that.”

The penalty for cannabis possession is up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
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