Cannabis U Turn as labour again disregards scientists

Cannabis is to be reclassified as a class B drug, Jacqui Smith has said. The home secretary’s statement to MPs came despite the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ review – commissioned by Gordon Brown – saying it should stay class C.

She added that the government’s change of heart – which is subject to parliamentary approval – was part of a “relentless drive”.

Ms Smith told MPs: “There is a compelling case for us to act now, rather than risk the future health of young people.

In its report, Cannabis: Classification And Public Health, the advisory council described cannabis as a “significant public health issue”.

But it said it should still remain a class C drug, as the risks were not as serious as those of class B substances, such as amphetamines and barbiturates.

The report said the evidence suggested a “probable, but weak, causal link between psychotic illness, including schizophrenia, and cannabis use”.

However, in the population as a whole, it played only a “modest role” in the development of these conditions.

Council chairman Sir Michael Rawlings told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “The strength of things like skunk hasn’t really changed very much over the last few years but it’s now more widely used… The question of potency is a very complex area.”

Sir Michael added: “The government may want to take other matters into account. That’s their right. They are the government.”

In its report the council called for a campaign to reduce the use of cannabis, particularly focusing on young people.


Health Direct notes that once again labour dithers over another dilemma. One which ignores there own advisers and the science.

On August 02, 2006 Health Direct posted: Risks of taking drugs compared– Scientific review of dangers of drugtaking- Drugs, the real deal

Health Direct reproduced the first ranking based upon scientific evidence of harm to both individuals and society. It was devised by government advisers – then ignored by labour ministers because of its controversial findings.

The analysis was carried out by David Nutt, a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and Colin Blakemore, the chief executive of the Medical Research Council. Copies of the report have been submitted to the Home Office, which has failed to act on the conclusions.

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