When the home secretary, Sajid Javid, announced that medical cannabis would soon be available on prescription, thousands of patients who rely on illegal supplies to relieve the symptoms of MS, epilepsy and other conditions were delighted. (Although, as Tory ex-minister Mike Penning highlighted in parliament on Monday, patients in need of cannabis have found gaining access to it extremely difficult).
Nonetheless, many recreational users too, have welcomed this as a possible first step towards full legalisation, as recently introduced in the US and Canada.
It is understandable that many celebrate the idea of being able to enjoy marijuana – whether for “medicinal” or “recreational” purposes – without getting arrested. Yet this end could be accomplished by simple decriminalisation.