The Government has dismissed calls from the drugs minister to legalise cannabis for medical use.
Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has previously claimed that cannabis is no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol, wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to express support for looking at research into the “medicinal properties” of the drug.
But a Home Office spokesman said the Government has “no plans” to soften its approach on cannabis, adding: “There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health”.
“Our cross-government strategy remains clear. We must prevent drug use in our communities, support users through treatment and recovery, and tackle the organised criminals behind the drugs trade”.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that the Liberal Democrat 2015 general election manifesto will pledge to end prison sentences for drugs possession.
However, a spokesman from the Home Office defended the current law saying “drugs destroy lives and cause misery to families and communities and this Government has no intention of decriminalising them”.
In December 2013, Baker told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that legalising cannabis “needs to be considered along with everything else”.
When cannabis was downgraded from a Class B drug to Class C in 2004, the move was widely seen as a ‘disaster’.
In the three years after the law in the UK was weakened, the number of cannabis addicts receiving NHS treatment doubled and the number of children aged 15 and under being treated for mental illness surged.
The Labour Government then restored cannabis to a Class B drug in January 2009.