Cannabis Laws in the UK

Cannabis Laws in the UK

The United Kingdom has a very strong past in relation to drugs. Long before the cartels were shooting up South America, the UK was involved in a drug war on a much larger scale —the opium wars.  However, the purpose of this piece is to concentrate on a far less lethal drug marijuana.

Prior to 1928 cannabis was a relatively unknown and little used drug, although its use was starting to be restricted from that date. This situation was then made even worse by the passing of the misuse of drugs act 1971. To give you an idea of the total clampdown unleashed by that law. In 1973 11,111 people were convicted for possession of cannabis, some even going to prison. Today cannabis is a class B drug (although for a brief period 2005 to 2012 it was downgraded to a class C drug, and some cannabis clubs briefly appeared). Today it remains a class B drug and you can get 28 days in prison for possession of just 3 grams.  Generally, the drug is confiscated and a warning issued. (although 3 warnings and in you go).


Finding marijuana and hash is relatively simple in London, the problem is that if you don’t have a good contact you’ll probably get ripped off, nearly everyone who has scored in London has an amusing tale of being cheated whilst scoring (oregano in place of weed, some poor guy got sold chewing gum for hash in Hyde Park), easy to happen when buying on the street off unknown individuals.

Today it is possible to find weed quite easily, skunks are very popular in the UK and it is advisable to be very wary of these varieties as there are some horror stories of bad skunk sending people crazy. In the 70s it was very hard to find grass, indoor growing methods were not very sophisticated and it was much easier to smuggle hash (think of the bulk), so in that era most people would smoke joints made with tobacco and hash.

It is interesting that the growing of cannabis is now being encouraged in some circumstances. Since 1993 the Home Office has been granting licences for the purposes of cultivating and processing cannabis. The UK government now provides free business advice and support services for growers and processors of cannabis for fibre. They can also issue licenses for importing fibre in the form of hemp from abroad. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) provides help and advice with obtaining financial assistance via the Single Payment Scheme. In England further funding may be available from Rural Development Programme for England.