Almost half of people across the UK support legalisation of cannabis, according to a new opinion poll.
Nationally, decriminalisation of the Class C drug is favoured by 47 per cent of people. According to the research, backing for the proposal is highest in Scotland (58 per cent) and London (54 per cent) and lowest in the North East (37 per cent).
While 39 per cent of people across the UK as a whole oppose legalising the sale of cannabis through licensed shops, 14 per cent are “don’t knows” on the issue, according to the survey of 2,000 people by polling company ORB for The Independent.
The news comes after the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman Norman Lamb said he wants the drug to be legalised in order to stop money going into the pockets of criminals.
The latest poll found that men (53 per cent) are more likely to back licensed sales of cannabis than women (41 per cent).
Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, told The Independent that “millions” want the Government to take control of the cannabis trade.
He said: “Yet neither Jeremy Corbyn nor David Cameron will genuinely discuss legal regulation.
“Unless and until they show leadership on the issue, the drugs trade will remain in the hands of organised criminals and unregulated dealers.”
The Liberal Democrats commissioned a study - conducted by a panel of scientists, academics and police chiefs - that suggested the drug should be available in specialist shops to over-18s.
Mr Lamb, the former Lib Dem health minister, has proposed a Bill to legalise cannabis.
In March he said: “A regulated market in the UK will take profits out of the hands of organised crime and reduce both health and social harms.”