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Shocking! UK is the World’s Largest Exporter, Producer of Legal Marijuana

Shocking! UK is the World’s Largest Exporter, Producer of Legal Marijuana

Dina Al-Shibeeb
A bus waits at a bus-stop during rush hour outside Liverpool Street station in London April 28, 2014. (File image via Reuters)

The British government has a staunch hardline position against medical marijuana use. But it is shocking to see the UK topping the world’s list in being the largest legal exporter and producer of cannabis.

Citing new figures from a report by the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the UK is the world’s largest producer of legal cannabis for both medicinal and scientific use, accounting for 44.9 percent of the world total in 2016.

The 96 tonnes it produced was up more than double if compared to 2015.

The UK’s rival Canada produced 80.7 tonnes of legal cannabis. But unlike Britain, Canada has already legalized medical marijuana and is currently en route this year to become the first developed nation to legalize cannabis, and the second country after Uruguay.

In addition, the UK exported 2.1 tonnes in 2016, which made up more than 67.7 percent of the world total. The Netherlands followed second by 16.4 percent.

The data is part of the INCB’s annual report, which was published on Thursday.

Unsurprisingly, INCB said that there is a growing legal use of cannabis since 2000.

Sky News, meanwhile, reported on Wednesday that a significant part of the UK’s legal cannabis production goes towards a cannabis-based medicine called Sativex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals.

But Sativex can only be offered to patients suffering the effects of multiple sclerosis, and it is offered by the National Health Services (NHS) in Wales, and not the rest of the UK.

The remainder part of the UK tends to opt for illegal means or at times travel abroad to obtain their cannabis-based medicine.

The case of the 6-year-old Alfie Dingley, a British boy suffering a rare form of epilepsy, has garnered the attention of national media.  Alfie witnessed a reduction of his seizures in terms of magnitude and occurrence when he started using medical cannabis in the Netherlands but in his home country, he is denied access.

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Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy which can cause him to have up to 30 seizures a day (Image via PA)

The British MP Paul Flynn, who had his pot bill “filibustered” at the British parliament, has called on Alfie’s family to break the law.

In an interview with Sky News, a drug policy reform lobby group lashed out at what it saw as double standards.

Steve Rolles, Transform’s senior policy analyst said:

“It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market.

“UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market.”

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