I suppose your verdict as to whether or not the news that Hague’s rejected call to legalise cannabis is ‘spliffing’ or not, depends on which side of the fence you sit on.
Either way, there will be both happy and distraught people out there in light of the, according to Lord Hague, “irreversibly lost war on cannabis”.
Lord Hague put in a call to the government, asking them to consider legalising the recreational use of the drug.
The former PM made the call after hearing about the case of a boy with epilepsy who was given a special licence to use cannabis oil.
But it seems Hague’s plea fell on deaf ears.
The Home Secretary – Sajid Javid – has said there will be a review of the medical use of cannabis in the UK. In addition, an expert panel has been set up to review the rules surrounding the therapeutic use of the drug.
However, it’s a big, emphatic NO in response to the question as to whether there will be any change to the existing laws on cannabis use for recreational purposes.
Under law in England and Wales, Cannabis is not recognised as having any therapeutic value, and so anyone buying or using it can be arrested or jailed.
Sativex is one cannabis-based product that can be legally prescribed to help alleviate multiple sclerosis symptoms, but only in limited circumstances.
But that doesn’t help the parents who are banking on cannabis-based drugs to help their severely epileptic children. The decision isn’t exactly the emotive end-user experience they were hoping for.
Indeed, it was the case of epileptic Billy Caldwell’s cannabis oil being confiscated at Heathrow Airport that caught Hague’s eye.
His mother was trying to bring (smuggle?!) it into the country from Canada.
The Home Office actually returned some of it after Mrs Caldwell offered firm consumer feedback (ie: she protested heartily and got Billy’s medical professionals to give their verdict on the importance of the oil as part of the kid’s treatment).
In doing so, though, I guess they opened a can of worms!
Medicinal or recreational?
Yes, Hague may be right in saying this case brings to light the fact that UK’s policy on cannabis is probably inappropriate, ineffective and out of date.
But surely making medicinal marijuana legal is a little different from selling happy hash to anyone that fancies some on the weekend?
That’s the verdict of the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn would decriminalise it simply for medical purposes in the first instance.
They’d then look at the implications on both users and the wider community before letting it loose on the public at large.
And last month, the Royal College of Nursing also voted overwhelmingly in favour of lobbying the government to make it legal for medical use.
On the other side of the coin though, the Lib Dems and the Green Party leaders are all for the legalisation for recreational purposes too.
They believe if it was properly regulated and sold by legalised distributors, people would have less incentive to use and it would reduce the harm associated with it.
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt went one step further and said that selling cannabis legally would generate substantial tax revenues.
Cannabis with your can of coke from the corner shop, anyone?!
Of course, for all those that think the wrong decision was made, there’s a bunch of other folk cheering at the news.
PM Teresa May is firmly against cannabis being either legalised or decriminalised. (The latter meaning it’s not legal to sell it but you can’t be prosecuted for possession.) She believes that the drug can cause terrible damage both to users and communities.
Campaigners against legalisation argue that it would normalise the use of drugs among kids. Which, in turn, would lead to greater addiction and health problems.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists say cannabis carries significant mental health risks. (Although it does support the medicinal use of approved cannabis products.)
And the drug dealers are probably pleased at the news too.
Let’s face it…. If hash became legal for recreational purposes, it would put a serious dent in business for the black market.
No-one’s going to meet some unknown dealer down a back alley. Especially not if they can just nip to Asda for their pot instead!
On saying that though, MP Laurence Robertson made a fair point…. Taxing cigarettes led to a blooming black market.
So, the illicit cannabis sales may well continue, if it’s ever legalised.
Six of one…
You might not have much of an opinion on this result.
Perhaps you don’t know anyone that needs medicinal marijuana.
You might not – and may never have even tried to – smoke it for recreational purposes.
Or perhaps you’re just too high to care either way!
But the moral of this story is not whether you agree with Parliament’s decision.
It’s actually just emphasising the fact that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
And it’s the same way in business, no matter what decisions you make about your brand. There’s a fair chance that any consumer feedback will be six of one and half a dozen of the other.
Yes, you can make all customers happy individually, by listening to user feedback and responding to complaints and comments. And doing so in a timely and effective manner.
And keeping those lines of communication open at all times.
But when it comes to implementing changes you are never going to achieve 100% consumer satisfaction. Well, not unless you’re really lucky.
Of course, it’s important to garner public opinion before you throw something new out there. User experience consulting can help with that (give us a call!).
It’s definitely better to please most of the people all of the time, than all of the people some of the time.
But if you are hoping to live with the illusion that everyone will give your decisions the thumbs up…Well, perhaps it’s time to lobby Parliament so you can get yourself down to the Co-op for some cannabis!