U.K. officials are now moving to put in place a regulatory framework that could put marijuana at the center of a national debate on how to handle the drug.
The move is in line with an international push for the U,S.
and other countries to move more swiftly toward decriminalizing the drug, which has led to thousands of arrests and billions in economic damage.
The U.N. General Assembly is set to debate legalization on Sunday, but the British government is holding off on a vote until next week, a senior official said on Monday.
Britain is one of five European Union countries that currently have no formal plans to legalize marijuana, the official said.
But the official did not offer details about the current status of the issue, saying that a decision would be made by a special committee, including representatives from U.A.E. member countries, that would meet in the coming weeks.
A European Parliament report last year recommended that the U and other European countries make it easier for police to stop people for marijuana possession, with a new law allowing for mandatory reporting and more frequent drug testing.
The United States and other nations, including Germany, France and Spain, are considering a similar proposal to legalize the drug that would allow police to question people without a warrant, as long as they are suspected of marijuana possession.
“It’s about getting rid of the stigma and having the ability to get people off the streets and having them involved in treatment,” U.C. Davis professor of law and public policy Michael J. Sabet said.
But some in the marijuana legalization movement, including Sabet, say the current proposal does not go far enough, and that a national plan should be developed to allow police the flexibility to stop and question anyone they see for marijuana-related offenses.
A similar approach was adopted by U.B.C.’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which released a report last month calling for a national legalization plan to be developed and approved by the legislature.
The report called for creating a national “public health task force” to develop a strategy for the legalization of marijuana and said that the task force would be responsible for advising the government on public health issues and recommending how to deal with the drug’s use and addiction.
A senior U.M. law professor, Mark Kleiman, said the U-M.
proposal is “probably the best-grounded proposal that we have right now.”
“There’s been an enormous amount of research that has shown the harm associated with marijuana use,” he said.
“The idea that we could get around it by just making marijuana illegal is probably the most ludicrous of all the arguments, and the one that most clearly falls short of actually doing something to actually reduce the harm.”
“It would make no sense to just legalize marijuana in a way that doesn’t involve any of these harms,” he added.
The draft legalization plan released by the U of M. and the College of Criminal Justice was not an official recommendation for a new federal law.
It would likely be referred to the Committee on Drug Policy, a panel of the U Senate that is expected to consider marijuana legalization proposals in the near future.
The College of Criminal Justice report is the first comprehensive look at the potential harms associated with the use of marijuana, including addiction and violence.
The committee is expected make recommendations to the U Congress, which is expected in 2019.