The Government wants to return cannabis to its ‘class B’ status, according to Whitehall sources quoted in The Times.
The drug was controversially downgraded to a class C bracket in 2004 by the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett.
Since then mounting evidence of mental health risks and fears that the move sent out the wrong message to youngsters has caused the Government to think again.
A Whitehall source told The Times: “The sentiment from No 10 and the Home Office is very much towards reclassification. It has to be as much about the message that is being sent out as much as anything else.”
Gordon Brown launched a review of the law on cannabis on becoming Prime Minister in 2007, saying at the time: “It is the message you send out. Why I want to upgrade cannabis and make it more a drug that people worry about is that we don’t want to send out a message, just like with alcohol, to teenagers that we accept these things.”
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which is responsible for conducting the review, is due to report soon. There have been suggestions that Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, intends to go ahead with reclassification regardless of the report’s conclusions. But the Home Office has described these reports as “pure speculation”.