When I returned from Los Angeles last summer, I said goodbye to two dear friends with a heavy heart. One was a small jar of Mondo powder, a cannabinoid-infused coconut oil product I had acquired at a cannabis tupperware party. My wife liked sprinkling it on her toast. The other was a chic sativa vaporiser made by Beboe, which styles itself as the “Hermes of marijuana”. A tiny puff at the end of a day and everything just seemed so much more delightful.

There are more such spirit-lifting, anxiety-dissolving innovations arriving in the Californian “Green Rush”. Back in November 2016, the richest and most populous state in the US voted yes to Proposition 64, permitting the recreational use of marijuana. As of yesterday, Californians can enjoy all of the concomitant social, economic, mental, physical and metaphysical benefits, including about $1 billion a year in tax revenues.

So 2018 is already a watershed in global drugs policy. Cannabis is partially legal in most US states; Canada will follow soon; Germany, France and Italy are all reviewing policy. The data is in on Portugal’s policy of decriminalising all drugs in 2001 — it now has the lowest drugs mortality rate in western Europe. Britain has one of the highest: our heroin problem is at epidemic levels; our prisons are full of the synthetic cannabis substitute, spice. But our governments have been stubborn.

 What surprised me in California was how much more grown up everyone was. You can find all the ganja clichés if you want but you can also find research on its benefits on childhood epilepsy, say, or depression. There are cannabis feminist circles (legal weed has a high proportion of female CEO users), cannabis chocolatiers, cannabis farmers’ markets, cannabis sex aids, cannabis design agencies… Cannabis agriculture can provide a more dignified existence for Native Americans than opening casinos. And legalising cannabis removes one of the main pretexts for throwing young African-American men in jail.

When you consider what a green wave could do for Britain — freeing police and court time and saving lives, as well as unleashing innovation, raising revenue — our approach seems absurd. The only people who benefit from the current situation are criminals. Instead of a safe, regulated market we are awash with psychotic skunk controlled by violent gangs.

Most politicians shy away from drugs policy but sensible ones are open to change. I was describing my Beboe vaporiser to a female MP recently and her reaction was: “Why didn’t you just smuggle it home in your suitcase, duh?”  Legalisation would be a policy win for Theresa May. People would take it from her. And who knows, she might like it.

Original post from EveningStandard