LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has lost the battle to drive cannabis off the streets so it should consider legalising the drug, a former leader of Theresa May’s Conservative Party said on Tuesday.
William Hague, a member of parliament’s upper chamber who led the Conservatives from 1997 to 2001, said the case of a 12-year-old epileptic boy who struggled to access a cannabis-based medicine in recent days had shown the need to change the law.
More broadly, he said the recreational use of cannabis was ubiquitous and the thought it could be driven out of peoples’ lives was “deluded”. Legalising the drug could be economically and socially beneficial, he added.
“The idea that this can be driven off the streets and out of people’s lives by the state is nothing short of deluded,” Hague wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. “This battle is effectively over.
“When a law has ceased to be credible and worth enforcing to many police as well as the public, respect for the law in general is damaged.”
May’s government said on Monday it would look into possible changes to rules on the use of cannabis-based medicines after a 12-year-old boy, Billy Caldwell, was admitted to hospital when officials confiscated his medication.
Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge