Government Responds to Cannabis Legalisation Petition with Debunked Propaganda

Michaela Whitton
September 2, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom —  The U.K. government recently issued a woeful response to a petition calling for the legalisation of cannabis. The crushing response to the 200,000 strong petition calling for the legalization of the production, sale, and use of cannabis was published on the petition website on August 25th.

Despite receiving twice the number of signatures required for the issue to be considered for Parliamentary debate, the government’s response appears to have stifled the debate before it even begun, firmly closing the door on legalization.

The predictable and misleading reply begins with, “Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health.”

Undoubtedly, the same claim could be applied to a wide range of substances, from sugar to alcohol. The government then goes on to describe the use of cannabis as “a significant public health issue that can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society.” As more and more evidence flies in the face of this claim, the U.K.’s contradictory drug laws have even been referred to as “a laughing stock” by members of the House of Lords.

A recent study published in Scientific Reports that aimed to quantify the risk of death from various substances found cannabis to be by far the safest drug —114 times less deadly than alcohol. Further research by the University of Pittsburgh tracked 400 men from early adolescence to their mid-thirties. Some used no cannabis, some were regular smokers, and others heavy users. Results revealed no difference in the physical and mental health outcomes of those monitored.

The government response to the petition goes on to insist that “Legalisation of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade.”

The claim is nonsense, as anyone with half a brain knows that legalising cannabis would illuminate dangerous farms and rid the streets of dealers and violence associated with the drug. Patronisingly, the government statement claims that legalisation sends the wrong message to the “vast majority of people who do not take drugs and increases the potential of drug misuse.”

With no prospect of a debate in sight, the response resorts to the government’s default position and makes the issue all about money.

“Despite the potential opportunity offered by legalization to raise revenue through taxation, there would be costs in relation to administrative, compliance and law enforcement activities, as well as the wider costs of drug prevention and health services.”

As it is apparently unable to deal with the cannabis issue rationally, we will never know if the U.K. government sets out to deliberately deceive the public or is just willfully ignorant to the fact that much of the world, including President Obama, is moving towards a more logical stance on decriminalisation.

What’s rarely talked about are proven legalization successes in states like Colorado, where crime has dropped and the massive tax revenue collected in taxes from pot sales means the state could be legally obliged to give some back. Meanwhile in Portugal, where all drugs have been decriminalised, the country has experienced a reduction in both crime and addiction rates.

In its dismissive response, the U.K. government boasts that its approach on drugs remains clear. Indeed it does — what is very evident is that Britain’s drug laws are archaic, out of touch, and downright deceptive.

This article (Government Responds to Cannabis Legalisation Petition with Debunked Propaganda) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email

Michaela Whitton joined Anti-Media as its first journalist abroad in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include human rights, conflict, the Middle East, Palestine, and Israel. Born and residing in the United Kingdom, she is also a photographer. Learn more about Whitton here!