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What is 420 Weed Day and is cannabis legal in the UK?

Each year, thousands of people mark what is now known as ‘Weed Day’

  • Ewan Somerville
  • Monday 20 April 2020 12:14
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For marijuana smokers, weed day marks a time to come together and enjoy a joint.

But with the coronavirus lockdown in force, this year will be a little different.

It’s not only venturing out the house for non-essential reasons that could get you in trouble with the police, though.

So, what exactly is 420 and is weed legal in the UK? Here are the answers.

What is 420?

The date April 20 has essentially become a ritual for marijuana fans, like May 4 is for Star Wars enthusiasts and October 3 is for Mean Girls fans.

It sees thousands flock to London’s Hyde Park, usually the biggest event, to gather for a smoke.

But the link between the numbers and the act are less clear.

Last year organisers of a Facebook event for the Hyde Park meeting explained: “Back in 1971, five students at San Rafael High School in California would meet at 4.20pm – right after doing their after-school sports – by the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur to toke up.”

The group, who called themselves the Waldos, used 420 as a shorthand for smoking weed with one member Steve Capper, telling The Huffington Post : “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4.20.”

According to a subreddit on ‘trees’ , the earliest record of the link originates in H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling’s short story In the Walls of Eryx, published in 1939, where he described his hypnotic experienced and “w as astonished to find the time was only 4:20”.

Is cannabis legal in the UK?

Cannabis is a Class B drug and is therefore illegal to possess, grow, distrubute or sell in the UK.

It is classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and was previously a Class C drug before being upgraded in 2009.

Possession carries a maximum five year jail term, an unlimited fine or both, while producing or dealing the drug is punishable by 14 years in prison.

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Police usually turn out in force at the Hyde Park weed day meeting, and arrested 53 people in 2015 and 12 people were detained in 2017.

Campaigners are calling for the UK Government to relax the laws, pointing out that it has some medicinal benefits for sufferers of epilepsy, chronic pain and anxiety.

Which countries have legalised cannabis?

Several countries in the world have fully legalised cannabis for recreational use.

Canada decriminalised the drug in 2018 but selling it to children, possessing more than 30 grams in public or growing more than four plants at home remains outlawed.

Many states in Australia and Latin America have also legalised marijuana.

Other countries have decriminalised the drug for medicinal use only, such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia and many parts of the US.

For marijuana smokers, weed day marks a time to come together and enjoy a joint. But with the coronavirus lockdown in force, this year will be a little different. It’s not only venturing out the house for non-essential reasons that could get you in trouble with the police, though. So, what exactly is 420 and is weed legal in the UK? Here are the answers. Cannabis enthusiasts

Is cannabis illegal in UK and where is weed legal to smoke and buy?

  • 28 Dec 2019, 18:30
  • Updated : 20 Apr 2020, 13:39
  • Invalid Date,

MARIJUANA has been illegal in the UK since 1928 – but will laws around the Class B drug be relaxed?

Here’s everything you need to know about drug laws on cannabis as they currently stand.

Is marijuana illegal in the UK?

Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK.

Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

While being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug carries up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.

Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if you’re caught with a small amount – generally less than one ounce – if it is deemed for personal use.

Is it illegal to smoke cannabis in your own home?

Like all drugs in Britain, weed is regulated extremely stringently by the Government.

As the punishments suggest, it’s completely illegal to smoke weed anywhere in Britain – including on your own property.

However, some police forces have taken a more laid-back attitude to the recreational drug, which is believed to be the most popular in the UK.

Prosecution rates for cannabis possession are as low as 15 per cent in Cornwall and Devon, while Durham Police have said they will no longer target recreational users at all.

Is medical marijuana legal in the UK?

Medical forms of marijuana are available over the counter or by prescription in the UK – but it is heavily monitored and regulated.

Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1, 2018.

The new rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland, Sajid Javid said in a written statement.

It follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.

In order for a cannabis product to be considered medicinal it must meet three requirements: it “needs to be a preparation or product which contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative; it is produced for medicinal use in humans and; is a medicinal product, or a substance or preparation for use as an ingredient of, or in the production of an ingredient of, a medicinal product”, according to Mr Javid’s statement.

In July 2019, it was ruled that the NHS could prescribe cannabis-based medicine to treat Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Trials of the drug were carried out at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital on children who were having multiple seizures a day.

Results showed the drug stopped the seizures in many cases and significantly reduced them in others.

The decision by the European Medicines Agency has to be confirmed in two months, but that is expected to be a formality paving the way for the liquid medicine to be available on the NHS later this year for dozens of children affected by the two conditions.

Where is weed legal?

Weed has been decriminalised for personal use in a number of countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal, which decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001.

Canada legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2001. But in October 2018 Canada became the first G7 nation to legalise recreational use of the drug.

In Australia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia it is legal for medicinal purposes.

Some US states have legalised marijuana while others allow it for medicinal use only.

New York state was the latest to decriminalise recreational use in July 2019.

Possession of small amounts of the drug will be punished with fines rather than jail time, a step short of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of legalising pot.

The Liberal Democrats became the first major British political party to support the legalisation of cannabis in March 2016.

How many people in the UK smoke weed?

The use of most drugs has declined in the UK since records began in 1996, according to a 2016 Home Office survey.

It found that cannabis was by some distance the most commonly used drug, with 6.5 per cent of adults aged between 16 and 59 smoking in the previous year.

Weed was also the most popular among those aged between 16 and 24, with 15.8 per cent using it in that same time.

The next popular drug was powdered cocaine.

When did cannabis become illegal in the UK?

Cannabis was banned in 1928.

Its medical use was outlawed in 1971 and growing plants was made illegal in 1964.

Here's everything you need to know about cannabis ]]>