Most countries around the world have cannabis classified similar to how the United States does, a schedule 1 narcotic with restricted research and the heaviest of penalties attached to it. This week the U.K. announced that they would be reclassifying cannabis down to schedule two which opens many doors for research and medical use while also remaining heavily regulated and illegal without a prescription. The U.K.'s Home Secretary pointed to the many cases recently involving sick children where cannabis was of clear medical value the child's health and well-being. Regulators say this is not the first step towards recreational cannabis and that selling or possessing the plant without a prescription would still be considered a serious criminal offense with penalties up to 5 years in prison with an unlimited fine.
As is the case with the U.S. federal government, the British government previously classified marijuana and its derivatives alongside heroin and LSD. The new classification in the U.K. recognizes that cannabis has medicinal value in some instances.
Citing recent cases involving sick children, Javid said that the government’s previous “position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory,” according to the British newspaper.