Legalised Cannabis Supported By More Than More Than Half Of Britons

The majority of Britons support a softer stance on cannabis laws, according to a survey by an independent think-tank.

More than half the public - 53% - support legalising the production and supply of cannabis or decriminalising its possession, a survey ordered by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation found.

Transform's Danny Kushlick said the world has changed and politicians should listen

Just one in seven support heavier penalties and more being spent on enforcement for cannabis offences, the campaign group found, while around two thirds - 67% - support an in-depth review of policy options for controlling all drugs.

Transform head of external affairs Danny Kushlick said: "These results show just how far ahead of politicians the public are.

"While Labour and Conservative politicians shy away from the debate on drugs, around half of their supporters want to see legal regulation of cannabis production and supply or decriminalisation of cannabis possession.

"And a significant majority want a comprehensive review of our approach to drugs - including consideration of legal regulation."

The survey found that 70% of Conservative supporters and 69% of Labour supporters also feel this way and want a review of all policy options.

Pressure on the government to review its drugs policy has stepped up in recent weeks amid calls by various MPs to decriminalise the possession and use of all illegal drugs.

While the supply of the most dangerous substances should remain banned, users caught with a small quantity of any drug should not be penalised, members of the all-party parliamentary group for drug policy reform said.

And the influential Home Affairs Select Committee said there was a case for a fundamental review of all UK drug policy "now, more than ever" and called for a royal commission to consider the decriminalisation of illegal drugs.

But prime minister David Cameron rejected the calls on the grounds that the government's approach is working.

Mr Kushlick went on: "Politicians have repeated their 'tough on drugs' propaganda for so long that they assume the public are more fearful of change than they really are.

"In fact the world has changed, and the public are far more progressive than was thought, right across the political spectrum.

"At the very least the government should heed long standing and growing calls for a review of all policy options, including legal regulation."

Transform is a registered charity, which began as an independent campaign group in 1996, before achieving charitable status in 2003.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Mori, involved face-to-face interviews with 946 adults between 25 January and 5 February.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Drugs are illegal because they are harmful - they destroy lives and blight communities. Our current laws draw on the best available evidence.

"Our laws enable us to target the people involved in the illegal drug trade and to seize and destroy harmful substances so they do not end up on our streets."