Weed is an essential good in California.

Weed is an essential good in California.

By Akash Hashmi

Another day, another police force bragging about their HUGE cannabis haul.

By huge, I again mean a few grams, wrapped in some tin foil from a single user.

South Wales Police Cardiff took to Facebook to share their extremely impactful drug bust.

A 24-year-old man was reported for being on a non-essential journey and for being in possession of a small amount of cannabis.

The man told officers: “My journey is essential.

“I had to buy weed.”

The non-story was somehow big enough to be reported on by ITV news.

I would, however, be lying if I were to say the circumstances surrounding this story and incident were normal.

Times are different now, we’re in the middle of a pandemic that’s changed the way humans live to an unprecedented degree.

It’s our responsibility to help halt the transmission and spread of this disease, and by only leaving the house for essential necessities be they physical or mental, we can all be responsible as a nation for saving potentially thousands of lives.

Putting lives at stake

Even so, over-policing civilians in such a manner may put thousands more lives at stake.

According to forecasts by Statista, the UK will be home to over 330,000 medical cannabis users by 2024.

These numbers may seem conservative, and there are hundreds of variables involved regarding the self-reported use of cannabis which could skew these numbers.

Either way, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of patients who could be left in the dark to suffer from their symptoms in silence.

The virus has affected the supply of cannabis in the UK minimally, but the logistics of procuring medical cannabis have been severely affected by an increased police presence trying to enforce isolation.

Many cannabis dealers within the UK are opting to keep themselves safer either by staying at home or changing and lowering their hours of work.

This means that people suffering with debilitating illnesses are not only fighting the UK’s antiquated and anti-evidential laws, but also against a situation in which procuring their medicine is in some cases impossible or extremely difficult.

Californian weed dispensaries are an essential service

Customer being served at the City Compassionate Caregivers in L.A. who are allowed to stay open during the COVID-129 outbreak.

City Compassionate Caregivers marijuana dispensary in L.A. are allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak as it is seen as an essential product.

It’s a stark contrast to some areas of the US, such as in California where cannabis dispensaries are regarded as an essential service.

Why are patients in the UK left to indefinitely suffer?

Why is the same medicine that people in California can procure as an essential to their wellbeing the very same thing that could ruin your life in the UK if caught with it?

The crux of this issue is that not all patients can grow their own cannabis.

  • Not all patients can afford to buy cannabis.
  • Not all patients have a trusted cannabis dealer.
  • Not all patients can buy cannabis online.
  • Not all patients understand dark web markets.
  • Not all patients can afford to be outed as a cannabis user.

Vulnerable patients may be unable to even be in contact with a dealer due to the risk of contracting coronavirus being greater than any risks of their chronic illness going untreated with cannabis.

If Alcohol shops are described as “essential” then surely a plant that can stop someone’s own personal hell, even if only for a few moments, can be described as nothing less.

Photo of Akash Hashmi, journalist.

Akash Hashmi is a Journalism MA student from Sheffield with an undergraduate in Forensic Science. You can follow him on Twitter: @Akashmash.

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The Birds recently reported how in California, weed is considered an essential good, while in the UK, booze is considered an […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.