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UK Lawmakers Reject Marijuana Legalization In House Of Commons Vote

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Lawmakers in the British Parliament defeated a move to legalize marijuana in an early stage vote on Tuesday.

The proposal to “legalise the possession and consumption of cannabis” and to “provide for the regulation of the production, distribution and sale of cannabis” was rejected by a vote of 66 to 52.

Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat MP, put the idea before the House of Commons under a so-called “ten minute rule motion” through which lawmakers conducted a brief debate before deciding whether to allow the proposal to advance to the next stage of the legislative process.

During the debate, Lamb said that the UK government’s recent move to allow limited access to medical cannabis is inadequate. Saying that it only helps a “minuscule” number of patients, he spoke about constituents of his who find it easier to access the powerful opioid fentanyl.

“It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national Parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain,” Lamb said in response to the result.

The Labour Party reportedly pushed its members abstain on the vote, rather than support legalization.

The party’s whip operation tweeted in advance of the vote that the proposal “has no realistic chance of making it into law regardless of the result.”

“It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain,” Lamb said. “It is equally shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.”

See the video of UK lawmakers debating and voting on marijuana legalization below:

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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