Senior police officers have indicated their support for a tighter law on cannabis because of its strong links with crime and mental health problems.
The Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales argue that cannabis should be reclassified to “…send out a clear message – especially to the vulnerable and the young – that cannabis is illegal and can be dangerous.”
They say: “The downgrading to Class ‘C’ sent out the wrong message, unintentionally suggesting that cannabis was harmless and legal.”
The Government’s drugs advisors have been reviewing the law on cannabis since last year and is due to report at the end of April.
Since the drug was moved down to the class C bracket from class B in 2004, by then Home Secretary David Blunkett, mounting evidence of the harmful effects of the drug has led to repeated calls for it to be returned to the stricter category.
The BBC has reported that the Government’s drug advisors plan to tell the Prime Minister to leave the law as it is.
But Mr Brown has indicated that he is keen to reverse the change, and Whitehall sources have suggested that he will go ahead in spite of advisors’ recommendations.
The evidence rejected by the Government’s advisors:
There is a huge amount of evidence showing that downgrading cannabis to class C has been a disaster. Here is a selection from our news archive:
27/3/08Youngsters to be warned ofcannabis mental health riskSmoking cannabis could damage your mental health, a Government drugs website will tell young people. More
6/2/08Experts tell drug advisorsto toughen cannabis lawsLeading experts on mental health and crime have told the body reviewing the law on cannabis to return the drug to class B status. More
29/1/08Cannabis must go backto Class B, say experts”There are numerous very compelling reasons for restoring cannabis to Class B”, says a group of leading medics, biologists and drugs campaigners in a letter to The Times. More
22/11/07Police chiefs U-turn ondowngrade of cannabisPolice chiefs have reversed their support for the downgrading of cannabis. Cannabis ought to be reclassified as a class B drug, said the Association of Chief Police Officers at their annual drug conference. More
25/9/07Jack Straw concedescannabis law mistakeMinister for Justice, Jack Straw, has admitted that relaxing cannabis laws was a mistake. More
18/9/07Youth courts’ plea fortighter cannabis law50 of the UK’s 51 youth courts have written to Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, asking for a tighter law on cannabis. More