The people of the United Kingdom are ready to follow the lead of voters in Colorado and Washington State. A new Observer poll of UK adults by Opinium Research found a majority would back legalization.
When asked, “In two states in America (Colorado and Washington) the sale and possession of marijuana is legal for both medical and non-medical use. Would you support or oppose the introduction of a similar scheme in this country?” 52 percent of Britons said yes while 48 percent answered no.
Among the other reasons the people in the UK are now more open to marijuana legalization is that they consider the drug war a failure and see marijuana as relatively benign. The poll also found 84 percent consider the “war on drugs” unwinnable and the participants in the survey considered marijuana to have the lowest health risk among commonly used drugs. Marijuana was ranked below all other illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine and also below alcohol and tobacco.
We are seeing the ripple effect of the historic votes in Colorado and Washington State. They have played a big role in helping to change public opinion and policy both nationally and internationally. They provided proof that there is real public support for reform and that legalization can be carried out in a fairly successful manner.
For example Jamaica’s decision to move forward with marijuana decriminalization legislation is a direct result of the new state laws. The United States has long been holding back international marijuana reform efforts but since voters in these two states rejected the war on marijuana the federal government has significantly lost their ability to push other countries around on the issue.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy