26 April 2017

Could an Online Market for Cannabis Work?

There are many types of addiction that can affect individuals of all ages, but most people do not believe that cannabis addiction is a real illness. They assume that because cannabis is a natural substance, it cannot be addictive – but that is where they are wrong.

The reality is that any mood-altering substance can be addictive if it begins to have a negative effect on the individual’s life. At UKAT, we are fully aware of how cannabis addiction is impacting the lives of countless people across the United Kingdom.

Should Cannabis Be Legalised?

Despite the fact that cannabis addiction is a very real illness, there are some who believe the drug should be legalised; think tank Volte Face is calling for an online-only marketplace for it. They believe that this will help the Government to pull in millions in tax revenues while cutting out the dealers who are currently making a fortune from the sale of the Class B drug.

A new report has stated that a legal, digital market for cannabis would be regulated, meaning that anyone under the age of twenty-one would be prevented from purchasing it. The report said that similar checks to those in place for the sale of alcohol could be introduced, which would mean it would only be sold to those over twenty-one.

Volte Face has argued that a regulated online market would offer more control over the sale of the drug and would result in better quality and safer products being sold. It also believes that taxes on the sale of cannabis could raise approximately £800 million annually for the government.

The report, titled The Green Screen, states: “We believe that Britain’s multibillion-pound cannabis market should be developed and operated exclusively online by a private sector that is stringently controlled and regulated by democratically elected governments.”

As you might expect, however, there is fierce opposition to the regulation of cannabis, with campaigners stating that an online market for cannabis would be ‘absolutely the most irresponsible thing to do’.

How Would an Online Cannabis Market Work?

At the moment, there are approximately 2.1 million cannabis users in the UK, even though the drug is illegal and must be purchased from dealers. According to the author of the report Mike Power, “The current situation, any young person with five or ten pounds can come to Camden and buy a bag of cannabis. They can’t go to a supermarket and buy alcohol without having their identity checked and verified.”

He added, “We would argue that a digital model would enable that to be the case. So that every purchase would have to be age and ID verified before you actually bought it. As well as that, it would mean that you could tax every single purchase, and monitor it, and make sure that money was going directly into the taxpayers’ pocket.”

Powers also believes that creating a digital-only market for cannabis would automatically stop calls for cannabis cafés and shops, which would, in turn, alleviate concerns regarding the attraction of young people and any antisocial behaviour that might follow.

Is Cannabis a Gateway Drug?

While some continue to argue for cannabis to be legalised, there are many more who continue to fiercely oppose any plans to do so, particularly those who have experience with cannabis addiction, either themselves or through a loved one.

Many believe that cannabis is a gateway drug, and founder of charity DrugFAM Elizabeth Burton-Phillips is one of them. She said, “It’s not a credible argument. My personal story is sadly losing one of my sons at the age of 27 as a result of his addiction to drugs, which began with using cannabis – the gateway drug. For vulnerable young people – particularly those who are willing to try anything in their teenage years – this is just opening up an opportunity for national disaster. It’s absolutely the most irresponsible thing to do.”

However, former drug dealer Shaun Attwood who is now an activist for the legalisation of drugs said that the creation of an online cannabis market would be one way to deprive dealers and organised criminals of millions of pounds. He said, “The illegality of drugs creates an inflated black market price. I take full responsibility for what happened to me. On 16 May 2002, a swat team smashed my door down. And I ended up in the jail that’s got the highest rate of death in America.”

He added, “If there had been an online legalised marketplace for drugs, job opportunities for dealers would have ceased to exist. I couldn’t have arbitraged that price from Holland over to America because the users would be buying the drug online. So I’d have been taken out of the loop completely.”

Can You Get Help for a Cannabis Addiction?

If you have been affected by a cannabis addiction, we want you to know that you are not alone. Here at UKAT, we are helping people affected by all types of addiction, and cannabis addiction is one of them.

If you are ready to overcome your addiction, contact us now for advice and information on how we can help.

Source:  (Sky News) Campaigners call for digital cannabis market for the UK

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