Key Findings from Volteface’s Cannabis Poll

by Liz McCulloch

2018 has been a significant year for cannabis policy, with the Billy Caldwell campaign kicking off in June, The Children’s Inquiry published in September and Canada recently becoming the first G7 country to legalise cannabis for recreational use.

With access to medical cannabis over three days away, Volteface and the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis commissioned Populus to find out where public opinion now sits.

Recreational Cannabis

  • The general public is almost twice as likely to support the legalisation of cannabis in the UK than they are to oppose. 59% strongly support or tend to support the legalisation of cannabis, compared to 31% who strongly oppose or tend to oppose. There has been a 37% increase in support since the May 2018 YouGov survey was conducted (from 43% to 59%), and accordingly opposition has fallen by 32% (from 41% to 31%).
  • Support for the legalisation of cannabis in the UK is strongest amongst younger age groups (68% SUM: support amongst 18-24 year olds) and falls with age (49% SUM: support amongst 65+ year olds).
    65% of the British public think that our cannabis laws should be reformed. 40% support legalisation and a quarter (25%) call for the decriminalisation- where the sale and possession of cannabis should remain illegal but be regarded as a minor offence, such as parking in the wrong place, rather than a criminal offence
  • Only one third of the British population (34%) think the sale and possession of cannabis should remain a criminal offence. Older age groups are most likely to rank the continuation of currently policy as their preferred option (39% of 55-64 year olds and 43% of 65+s).

Medical Cannabis

  • The UK public is open to consuming cannabis as a medicine if prescribed to them by their doctor – 76% would be willing to do so, and this level of agreement is fairly consistent across demographic groups.
  • 13% plan to ask their doctor or healthcare provider about accessing cannabis medicines when these products become legal to prescribe on the NHS. Younger respondents (18-24 year olds) are slightly more likely than the rest of the population to plan to do this (18% and 19% respectively). That’s around 6.7million people planning to ask their doctor about cannabis.


  • 15% of the population say they have consumed cannabis at some point in their lives– and this figure is highest among 18-24 year olds (at 28%) and lowest among 65+ year olds (7%).

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