3PB’s Blood-Halvorsen authors review of UK and international cannabis regulations and compliance

Pupil barrister Ashley Blood-Halvorsen has been working for the last 18 months on a review of global reforms of cannabis law, that has just been published by a working party of the Society of Conservative Lawyers (SCL).

The new report “Cannabis: A look at sweeping global change” was authored by Ashley and Simon Randall CBE of Winkworth Sherwood LLP and looks at the history of the drug and the legal position in England and Wales, Canada, and the United States. The foreword to the report was written by Victoria Prentis MP who tweeted her support.

The question of whether or not cannabis should be legalised has been much discussed, not least during the recent conservative leadership election. Much debate has also raged around the recent legalisation of cannabis in Canada, distressing stories about young people suffering epileptic seizures without cannabis oil treatment as well as the growing interest among investors in promoting farming of cannabis-based products.

This new 19,000-word report examines various harms but also economic and medicinal opportunities particularly the Canadian experience (such as Canopy Growth Company) and recommends that the UK learns lessons from other comparable jurisdictions. The major theme running throughout this report is a desire to protect young adults from the adverse health effects of cannabis use in a real and practical way. The key recommendations are:

  • Consideration of the de-criminalisation of possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use to protect the future prospects of youthful users, particularly for their employment
  • Incorporating non-criminal sanctions for those caught with cannabis for treatment and/or suspension of driving licence to prevent a cycle of criminal behaviour
  • Shifting discourse towards a public health initiative to reduce addiction and raise awareness of the dangers through guidance
  • Permitting medical cannabis for therapeutic use when recommended by a physician and the speeding up of the current review.

Ashley Blood-Halvorsen is a British-Canadian originally, from Toronto, and is concluding a civil pupillage at 3PB Barristers. She has a particular interest and expertise in the UK regulatory compliance of this embryonic industry and potential consumer disputes, including the regulation of cannabis use and cannabis businesses globally.