In a nutshell
A vote on whether to restore cannabis to Class B illegal drug status.
On 12 November 2008 the House of Commons voted on The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008 which upgraded cannabis from Class C to B. MPs voted to approve the Order by 430 votes to 54.
In 2003 MPs had voted to approve the legal downgrade to Class C (see 2003 vote details).
There was no debate on the floor of the House of Commons. Instead reclassification to Class B was debated by a small committee of MPs, followed by a paper ballot which was open to all MPs.1
Labour and Conservative MPs were whipped to vote for the Order – only four Labour MPs and two Conservatives voted against it. Liberal Democrat MPs were whipped to vote against the Order – two Lib Dems defied the whip to vote for it. The Party whipping reflects the respective party policies on the issue.
The reclassification was approved by the House of Lords on 25 November 2008 and came into effect on 26 January 2009.
The decision to tighten the law followed growing concern about the destructive consequences of downgrading the drug to Class C in 2004 (see Reclassification of cannabis apologetic).
The reclassification order applied to the whole of the UK.
How we recorded the vote
- Voted for reclassifying cannabis to Class B in 2008
- Voted against reclassifying cannabis to Class B in 2008
- Abstained or was absent on the vote for reclassifying cannabis to Class B in 2008
- 1House of Commons, Eighth Delegated Legislation Committee, Draft Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008, 6 November 2008