• L’acceptabilité sociale du cannabis bondit en Écosse
  • L’acceptabilité sociale du cannabis bondit en Écosse

L’acceptabilité sociale du cannabis bondit en Écosse International

Publié le 15 November 2022 par AQIC

More than three in five residents in Scotland think people should not be prosecuted for the possession of cannabis for personal use, according to a national survey.

Results from the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA) show that 66% of respondentseither ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that people possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own use should not face prosecution.

The proportion of people who support what is effectively the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal use has almost doubled since 2009 when the figure was only 34%.

The annual survey was completed by 1,130 people aged 16 and over, who were selected at random between October 2021 – March 2022. The data has been weighted to be representative of Scotland’s adult population in terms of age, sex and area deprivation.

The findings of the survey are outlined in a new report, published earlier this month which aims to explore public perceptions of people with ‘problem drug use’.

A small minority, just under one in five (18%) ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement.

According to the report, those who had tried illegal drugs themselves were more likely than those who had not to have agreed or strongly agreed that people possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own use should not be prosecuted.

The vast majority (89%) of those who had tried illegal drugs either agreed or strongly agreed with this sentiment, compared with around six in ten (57%) of those who had not.

The media’s influence on attitudes towards cannabis

In the 2001 survey, 51% responded in favour of more liberal laws, suggesting public attitudes towards cannabis were more accepting at the start of the century, but worsened over the next decade.

Dr Anna Ross, an expert in drug policy at the University of Edinburgh, put this down to the impact of the media on public perceptions of cannabis.

Around the start of the 2000s some were floating the idea that cannabis should be recategorised as a Class C drug, meaning more lenient penalties for consumers.

But according to Dr Ross, a media campaign orchestrated to prevent the reclassification,increased fear among the public by focusing on so-called ‘skunk’ or high-THC cannabis.

She argues that this new increase in support is a result of increased acceptance of cannabis in the media, more people openly using it for medicinal purposes and increasing numbers of jurisdictions adopting more liberal laws around adult-use.

“What this highlights is that public opinion in regards to cannabis is led by the media, and we now have a situation where cannabis is widely accepted by the media as being normal,” Dr Ross commented.

“We have several countries with a legal adult use market, and the US is leading the way in legalisation. I think the increase in support is a reflection of the amount of positive media there is around cannabis.”

Wider acceptance of cannabis

In recent years, since medical cannabis was legalised in the UK in 2018, we have also seen efforts to destigmatise cannabis and an increase in cannabis-based wellness products such as CBD.

This has likely led to the wider acceptance of cannabis in older demographics.

Dr Ross continued: “Support for legal access has increased in the older generation, and more older people either use, or are convinced about the benefits from seeing others use.

“Data from countries that have legalised shows an increase in use in the older generation, and interestingly a stabilisation or decrease in younger peoples use. It seems like cannabis is slowly becoming acceptable again as a medicinal and therapeutic product.”

She added: “Cannabis was used legitimately for thousands of years before the last 70 years of sustained propaganda on its evil’s, as a result of moral entrepreneurs and fear around its use by those who challenge the dominant war mongering neo-liberal patriarchal system.

“We are starting to see the shift back to normality again.”

Calls for a grow-your-own model

A spokesperson for the Legalise Cannabis Campaign Scotland also welcomed the findings, describing the survey as a ‘vote for decriminalisation’.

However, they cautioned against the risks of this approach, instead calling for a legal ‘grow your own’ model.

“This is good news in that it is a majority of those polled. It seems to be a vote for decriminalisation,” they commented.

“The problem with decriminalisation is that it leaves the growers and suppliers in an illegal setup, like in the Netherlands until recent pilots. At the very least the Scottish Government could allow Home Grown for personal consumption, but not for sale.”

SOURCE: Cannabis Health News