Cannabis law blasted as drugs killer jailed

A police officer involved in the case of a paranoid cannabis user who murdered his girlfriend says moving the drug down to class C was disastrous.

Detective Superintendent Andy West says that the 2004 declassification of cannabis is the worst thing he has seen in 28 years with the police.

His comments come as Marc Middlebrook, a 27-year-old cannabis smoker who had used the drug for ten years, was jailed for murdering his girlfriend.

Mr Middlebrook had suffered from paranoid delusions that Stephanie Barton, aged 32, was part of a plot to kill him.

Mr West said: “Today it’s about cannabis. You have to take responsibility. As a police officer of 28 years I can say the worst thing legislators did was to reduce the classification of cannabis to Class C and we are now starting to see the long-term issues of this drug.

“This man is going to serve over 12 years so when people say this is a safe drug I don’t agree.”

He added: “I believe legislators need to take a look at the evidence that is starting to emerge regarding the use of cannabis, particularly as the substance has been in circulation now for some two or three generations.

“The idea of drug use being used as a line of defence worries me.”

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently announced that cannabis would be returned to class B, although it was revealed this week that those found in possession of the drug won’t face arrest until their third offence.

Critics said that the lenient policy would water down the effect of reclassifying the drug.

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: “The Home Secretary is deluded if she thinks this represents a toughening up of the law.

“The system is full of holes with half of fixed penalties not even being paid under this Government. The Government needs to wake up to the real harm cannabis does to young people and realise it requires real action, not more spin.”

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