Which cannabis model should the UK adopt?

By Chris Roach

As they say it’s never too early to start looking towards the future and cannabis connoisseurs, our day is coming closer. I think it’s important to look to the future and look at the possible options of what  could happen in the UK. Please feel free to leave a comment saying which one you would like to see. Creating a conversation and making it NORML is half the battle. For those of you looking for where to travel, this will also clarify what you can do in certain countries.


Probably the most famous country known for its use of cannabis is The Netherlands. While technically cannabis is still illegal over there, it is tolerated and was decriminalised in 1976 for personal use of up to 5 grams. It’s sold in Coffeeshops and you have to be over 18 years old to enter one. Many places will ask for I.D. on the door. This could become a possibility for the UK in the future; currently Councillor Ian Driver for Thanet is proposing a plan for a Coffeeshop in Kent. The possibility of a Coffeeshop in every town in England is a marvelous one. Concentrates remain banned, though certain Coffeeshops are starting to sell small amounts, but I’ll leave it to you guys to find out which ones.

Bluebird coffeeshop in Amsterdam, Holland.

Bluebird Coffeeshop in Amsterdam has a fine selection of hashish and herbal cannabis, which can be legally purchased by over-18s.


Colorado and Washington are the first states in the US to legalise cannabis. This is a huge step globally for our campaign. The country, which started the war on drugs, is ending it and although they still claim it has no medicinal value the Federal Government has said it will not interfere. So what are the rules? You can buy cannabis legally for the first time if you are over 21 and you can purchase up to an ounce (28 grams) at one time.  Tourists are allowed up to a quarter ounce (7 grams) at a time. You can smoke in hotels in designated smoking areas, but cannot smoke on the street. I fully support this, lets be realistic we shouldn’t be encouraging young children to follow our actions; same as drinking alcohol is not permitted in most town centres.


I promise people, Barcelona will be the New Amsterdam. Catalonian laws are actually more liberal where possession of up to 30 grams is tolerated. It works by people either growing them selves or by joining a Cannabis Social Club who can grow cannabis on your behalf and you buy it from the club. Cannabis is cheaper than Amsterdam in most places, where a gram of high-  grade weed can go for as little as 5 Euros. Barcelona is also home to Spannabis, which has just took place, this is a huge cannabis trade show – another one is taking place in Malaga between the 9th-11th of May. If you’d like to go on holiday to Spain and source some cannabis, you have to be introduced by a member of a club and then you are free to purchase what you want. I could see this policy implemented in the UK, it’s very forward thinking and this way we could have some assurances about the quality of cannabis in this county.

Uruguay is first country in the world to legalise cannabis.

Cannabis is legally sold in Uruguay.


Uruguay’s laws are not made to encourage cannabis use in the slightest, but it is the first country in the world to legalise cannabis and for that, President José Mujica, should be applauded. You will have to be over 18 to buy cannabis and register with their government. I could envisage some people people having privacy issues with that. Citizens can purchase up to 40 grams a month and for a lot of people who use it medicinally that simply would not be enough, especially if they were making concentrates to ease pain relief.

Los Angeles

L.A is by far the best place I have smoked in the world, every moment was perfect from the scenery to the friendly people. Southern California is known for its cannabis and there they know how to grow it to an incredibly high standard. Cannabis in California is only legal for medical purposes and for the majority of dispensaries you will need a Californian driving licence, there are a small minority which wont ask. If you’re caught in possession of a personal amount the fine is only 100 dollars. If a tourist wanted to visit, I’d suggest visiting Venice Beach.

Legal medical marijuana, Venice Beach, LA, United States of America.

A legal medical weed dispensary in Venice Beach, L.A.

The world is getting progressively more tolerant of the use of cannabis and even the UK government is starting to see some sense, although they’re still arresting people. Politicians and senior policeman have described it as a waste of time, but with an election coming up don’t expect to see any significant change until after that. Let’s hope we can see change in the near future though.

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  1. I am only interested in the medicinal use of canabis but if people are not allowed to buy enough to treat them selves then that would be such a waste of time and life in my eyes but if would be a srarting point for a lot of people, I also think people who use it to relax and recreation should be left alone beecause it makes the world a nicer place.

  2. A mixture of A’dam, Colerado and Uruguay…
    We should have coffee shops so people can socialise, Colerado so that growing is kept out of the hands of dubious growers and regulated (and taxed as legit business) so we know the herbs are to standard and Uruguay because prohibition is IMO against our basic human rights to grow and consume what natural plant we want, in the way that we want.

  3. Not quite sure what would work best. I know that, as much as I have enjoyed the Dutch Coffeeshops over the years, I would not like that system here. Firstly it has this stupid 5 gramme limit per purchase which pushes up prices in my view. Secondly all supply is illegal and this just supports a huge criminal market in growing and importing.

    Maybe the Colorado model is the closest to what I would like to see. I have a novel idea as well – we could close down a few pubs and bars and let them convert to cannabis cafes instead. After all there are too many places to buy alcohol and the new cannabis establishments would serve a similar function but with less noise and violence (so no need for planning permission and objections from the public). I think we also need proper medical shops for those with prescriptions that have cheaper prices and sell more medically appropriate products.

    From a purely personal point of view so long as I can grow 4 plants at a time and keep what I grow for my own use in my own home I would be more than happy. I am sure we will have very little say in the matter if anything does change anyway.

    Good Luck !

  4. I think a regulated free market approach with a ban on advertising.
    I think medical users should be given a card which allows them to purchase medicine at the price of a prescription or free if a repeat description to be substantiated by the NHS.

    I think then to comply with UK smoking laws, pubs/cafes should have the choice to allow people to toke in their smoking area and laws need to change to allow for private members clubs.

  5. The British are well known through out the world to be abusers of beer so why give them something else to abuse…We drink too much and fight and make ourselves look like yobs all over the world…Can a nation so agressive and willing to abuse a substance and others ever respect cannabis, no…The mentality of the average council asbo estate yob would within months of legalisation be on the news scumming over the whole issue…we have to many scroats in this country to ever fully legalise it.First step and maybe the only step would be a blind eye approach like Holland…I lived there for 3 years and from what I saw and learnt…You can smoke,grow and do what you want as long as it does not annoy anyone else…My mate had 54 plants in his spare bedroom…A policeman knocked on his door one evening at 7 pm and asked if he could come in as a complaint about skunk smell had been raised from a neigbour…The cop was shown the crop, left for 30 minutes, came back with another 2 cops and removed the plants…and rightly so, my mate took the piss with 54 and his neigbours should not have to have that stench annoying them.He got a 1000 poundish fine to…But if he just grew for himself, as 54 is money making amounts…then no problem,no paranoia and most important no police.

  6. I agree with you. A much better idea as well as the four plants! If it comes to fruition, it will be some time ahead. The joy of the waiting game. : /

  7. We had three cafes here on the South Coast of the UK. A great idea doomed from the beginning .
    They were run so badly it was sad to watch them fail, the organisation was non existent, it was infiltrated by gangsters bringing in class ‘A’, the people who were bagging, were doing one for the cafe, one for me, everyone was stealing dope or money. It was constantly being attacked by cops and it degenerated to utter chaos. It was fun and exciting a real ‘them and us’ battle of wits and determination.
    The Medical side was separated and it was very successful. 300 needy people looked after and supplied with no issues and no profit either, the recreational users susidised the disabled. Great all round.
    It moved three times over a two year period and the security became ridiculous, steel doors etc. The last cafe the cops attacked, they did with a purpose, they came through the walls with mechanical diggers, the landlord didn’t rate that very highly.
    That’s why we need regulation and allowances, making it legal would have huge benefits for the British coffers and in the way of tax, vulnerable people could be monitored for any signs of ‘problems’ by experts in cannabis use, for the disabled to be able to grow what suits them (That’s me). And for recreational users to be able to chill with whatever floats their boat. .
    To have the need to grow is up to the individual, four plants is not enough. I grew loads, in the knowledge that plants are susceptible to attack from natural pests and moulds. If you grow in the UK, be prepared to fight black fly (destroying plants with impunity and making me buy deadly micro wasps that feast on the little buggers} and the dreaded ‘Grey mould;. It can destroy plants overnight. Losses can be as high as 70%. There are no books or friendly gardeners to help you, (up to now). Always willing to help a new keen gardener. A plants grown in the outdoors in organic soil is far superior to anything grown under lights, a full natural daylight plant is a joy to use medically or recreationally.. I will fight for the right to have the medicine that helps me with the unbearable pain i have to live with every day for the rest of my life and gives me the ability to function and even enjoy life, without the fear of people coming onto my property or the police smashing my door down.
    Love n Peace

    • Hi Rob, I do hope it does happen as I would like to use it for statin damage caused by the use of prescribed statin drugs, I tried to grow it but the plant got to 4 inches then died so to be able to buy it and make my own oil would be perfect and the quality would be regulated to make sure it was safe and the best you could get,

  8. i would say amsterdam as the tourist this brings would help are debt so much only downfall to this is that people would forget to go home as price of living is cheap and are laws will let people stay and take over houses and work for the british people

  9. Should be legal for recreational use in your own home, but not in public areas. certain public areas should have smoking areas similar to the smoking areas in place for cigerettes. I think a weekly limit, but should be relativly high (around an ounce). People should be able to apply for a culktivation license from the goverment for either personal use or to sell to wholesalers (two seperate permits). And same as cigerettes to buy in shops the age limit should be 18, but to smoke 16 years old. Could be sold around 3/4 pound a gram standard, 5/6 gram high grade (uk standards) or the ussual 10 pound for a gram of highgrade import, from LA or a more experinced country.

  10. I really hope something comes of this. The UK needs a cash injection and I believe this is it. it will make a lot of people happy!

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