Britons strongly support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes, a snap Sky Data poll suggests.
The survey found 72% back legalisation for medical use, with just 15% opposed. The remainder did not know or did not express a preference.
But nearly half of the 1,001 people surveyed oppose the legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes.
Sky Data found 46% were opposed, with just 37% in favour. The remaining 17% did not express a preference or did not know.
People between 18 and 34 were the most likely to support legalisation, with 51% backing the change.
Among the over-55s support was lowest, with just 24% supporting full legalisation.
The research follows calls from senior Liberal Democrats, and other Labour and Tory figures, that the UK should follow the lead of the US and legalise the drug.
Eight US states have changed the law, four deciding to do so in this month’s election, and several more allow its use for medical reasons.
Monday’s report, by the Adam Smith Institute and Volteface, claims legalisation could net the Treasury more than £1bn a year in tax revenue.
It also says the number of prisoners in jail for drugs offences would drop, saving the taxpayer millions.
Image Caption: Nick Clegg believes the UK should follow the lead of the US
The primary reason, the MPs say, is that UK drugs laws have failed.
Former deputy PM Nick Clegg said: “British politicians need to open their eyes to what is happening in the rest of the world.
“Cannabis prohibition is being swept away on a tide of popular opinion and replaced with responsible legal regulation.
“Now is the time for ministers to start writing the rules.”
Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Lilley said: “It is time we legalised cannabis. Currently cannabis can only be obtained from illegal gangs who also push hard drugs.
“So we are driving soft drugs users into the arms of hard drugs pushers.”
Labour MP Paul Flynn added: “The UK’s 45 years of harsh prohibition has multiplied use and harm.
“A legal market would destroy the drug’s attraction as forbidden fruit and encourage users to ingest cannabis, of known strength and quality, in ways that will avoid deadly dangers of smoking.”
Germany is also getting ready to legalise cannabis for medical purposes and Canada is preparing for all-out decriminalisation.
The Netherlands effectively decriminalised cannabis decades ago, while Portugal legalised it in 2001.
Source: Sky News