Poll Finds Very Low Support For Prosecuting Cannabis Possession In Scotland
The Scottish government conducted a survey between the 21st of October 2021 and the 27th of March 2022, in which adults were asked “how much do you agree or disagree that people should not be prosecuted for possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own use?”
Cannabis is currently classified as a class B drug throughout the United Kingdom, including in Scotland. Anyone caught possessing cannabis could face jail time, a hefty fine, or both. According to a government report, 1.066 were prosecuted for illegal possession of cannabis in 2018-2019.
“Over three in five people (66%) ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that people should not be prosecuted, while just under one in five (18%) ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed’ that small amounts of cannabis possession should not be prosecuted,” Scotland’s government stated along with the published data from the 2021/22 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey.
“In 2001, 51% either agreed or strongly agreed that people should not be prosecuted for possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own use. By 2009, the proportion agreeing had dropped to 34%. However, in 2021/22, the proportion who either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement had almost doubled from 2009 to 66%.” the researchers went on to state.
A deeper dive into the survey results yields further insight. If a survey participant had previously tried drugs before, they were considerably more likely to think that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for personal cannabis possession.
Roughly 89% of people that indicated past drug use indicated in the survey that they do not support prosecuting people for cannabis possession, compared to 57% of people that indicated that they had not tried any illegal drugs in the past.
A similar trend was demonstrated when it involved survey participants that had a friend or family member that regularly used illegal drugs, with 84% of participants in that category agreeing or strongly agreeing that people possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted.
“This figure was lower, but still considerable, at around six in ten (57%) for those who did not have any friends or family who had regularly used illegal drugs.” researchers stated regarding the results.
“When asked whether people possessing small amounts of cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted, 43% of those who agreed or strongly agreed that most people with problem drug use only have themselves to blame, compared with 77% of those who disagreed or strongly disagreed, agreed that cannabis for personal use should not be prosecuted.” the researchers also concluded.