The Liberal Democrats became the first political party to support a regulated cannabis market in the UK today.
The spring conference vote comes after the party commissioned a groundbreaking report into how it could work in the UK.
The motion supports an expert report published this week by a panel comprised of police officers , public health experts and drugs policy analysts.
Established by Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb MP and chaired by Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst from Transform Drug Policy Foundation, the report proposed;
Single purpose outlets to sell cannabis modelled on pharmacies.
Allowing the sale of cannabis to over 18s from specialist, licensed retail stores. It also proposes allowing home-cultivation for personal use and small scale licensed cannabis social clubs.
A new regulator to oversee the market.
Regulation around the price, potency and packaging of cannabis available from retailers, with policy informed by evidence and best practice in tobacco and alcohol regulation.
Cannabis would be sold over the counter by trained and licensed vendors, in plain packaging with clear health and risk reduction information.
Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb said:
“I'm very proud this party has taken a principled stand and led the way. The war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure.
“We give billions of pounds every year to organised crime; too many people have lost their lives in places such as central and southern America and we criminalise thousands of people, blighting their careers. When people buy cannabis from criminals, they have no idea what they are buying.
“No criminal is interested in your welfare. So regulating the sale of cannabis, controlling the potency and taking the trade away from criminals makes sense in terms of public health and community safety.”