The Christian Institute

News Release

Christian charity’s plea for tighter cannabis law

A national Christian charity today urged the Government to reclassify cannabis to Class B. The Christian Institute has spoken out amid reports that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) may recommend keeping cannabis as a Class C drug.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “The Advisory Council got it wrong in 2002 and they may well get it wrong again in 2008.

“Keeping cannabis at Class C flies in the face of the medical evidence and the havoc that escalating cannabis use has wreaked on communities in Britain. The studies showing the dangers of cannabis were there before it was downgraded in 2004 but in effect the Advisory Council chose to ignore them. Since reclassification the weight of evidence has increased. Even FRANK, the Government’s own drugs advice website, admits that there is increasing evidence of a link between cannabis and mental health problems such as schizophrenia.

“According to Professor Peter Jones of Cambridge University, cannabis users now make up 80 per cent of all diagnosed cases of psychiatric disorders. In January, a group of leading medics, biologists and drugs campaigners submitted a dossier to the ACMD pointing out the damage done by softening the law. Among other concerns, they highlighted the mental health risks associated with cannabis and the risks of users progressing to other drugs. The increasing availability of stronger skunk cannabis is exacerbating the dangers.

“In 2003 Kate Hoey argued that 13 members of the ACMD were committed to a policy of drugs liberalisation. Since then the composition of the Advisory Council has changed, but drugs liberalisation is still a very popular view amongst drugs workers. It should now be very clear that the flower power ideology of the 1960s does not work. If anything the attitudes of rank and file police have hardened against cannabis because of the problems caused by the downgrading of the law.

“We welcome the fact that Gordon Brown and Jack Straw have both made clear their view that cannabis should be reclassified back to Class B. They should have the courage of their convictions and see it through.”