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Majority of MPs support the legalisation of cannabis for medical use

A Populus survey of 109 MPs has found that a majority of MPs (61%) support the legalisation of cannabis for medical use only.

The survey of MPs was conducted in March 2018 – prior to the Home Secretary’s decision to grant a 12 year-old boy temporary access to cannabis oil medication to treat his epilepsy – but shows that a relaxation of the law surrounding the use of cannabis for medical use is likely to have widespread support in the House of Commons.

Indeed, 71% of Labour MPs and 50% of Conservative MPs support legalisation for medical use suggesting cross-party support.

Several politicians have recently voiced their support for reform of the UK’s drug laws.

Diane Abbott – in a recent debate on medicinal cannabis went as far as to say that “a Labour Government, mindful that this oil is legal in many other jurisdictions, will move towards a legal framework that allows the prescription of cannabis oil for medical use”.

Meanwhile, Lord Hague – former leader of the Conservative Party – wrote that “the war on cannabis has failed utterly” in an article in the Daily Telegraph, and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform – a group of Conservative, Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green Party MPs – continues to argue “the global war on drugs has failed”.

The public also seems to be supportive of a review, with 78% telling Populus in 2016 that they support the legalisation of cannabis for medical use, prescribed where appropriate by GPs and hospitals.

Support for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use is lower than for medical use amongst the public but not inconsiderable.

A third (34%) of the public support the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, though 58% oppose it. Support is very low, however, in the House of Commons; just 12% of MPs (though rising to 17% of Labour MPs) support the legalisation for recreational use according to the Populus’s research in March 2018.

The Populus MP Panel surveys 250 MPs, both frontbenchers and backbenchers, from all main political parties. It enables businesses in all sectors to measure what key stakeholder audiences think of major issues that confront their industry, explore the attitudes of these influential groups towards the issues that companies face, and test the effectiveness of key messages. Find out more about the Populus MP Panel here.

Methodology

Populus interviewed 109 MPs in March 2018 online or by self-completion postal questionnaire. Results were weighted in order to ensure the sample was representative of the party composition of the House of Commons.

Populus also interviewed 4,048 adults in Great Britain online between 28 September and 2 October 2016. Results were weighted in order to ensure the sample was demographically representative of the adult population in Great Britain.

Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information, see www.populus.co.uk


Owen Thomas

Owen Thomas is a Director at Populus managing a wide variety of stakeholder, political and reputation research projects that aim to equip clients with a better understanding of the issues that matter most to them and their stakeholders. He is a key member of the Reputation & Strategy team who has developed his expertise overseeing qualitative workshops and consultations, examining the reputation of some of the UK’s largest companies among political stakeholders and conducting extensive research into senior opinion-formers’ attitudes towards the post-crash economy.

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