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Government 'Set To Reclassify Cannabis'

Herb Fellow

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The government is set to reclassify cannabis as Class B in a reversal of its previous downgrading of the drug, according to reports. Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith are said to want to restore cannabis' higher grading when the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs completes its report in the next few months.

And according to Wednesday's Times newspaper the home secretary is determined on reclassification whatever the expert body's recommendation.
Instead of the current warning and confiscation, the reclassification would mean that anyone found in possession of the substance could face a five-year jail term and an unlimited fine.

The advisory council, which rejected a previous attempt to reclassify cannabis in 2006, has been told to take into account public attitudes to cannabis as well as the medical evidence of its harm in reaching its conclusion.

"The sentiment from Number 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," a senior Whitehall figure told the Times.

In her letter to Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, the chairman of the council, requesting a further review of evidence, Smith said: "Though statistics show that cannabis use has fallen significantly, there is really public concern about the potential mental health effects of cannabis use, in particular the use of stronger forms of the drug, commonly known as skunk. "This is in addition to the longitudinal studies undertaken in New Zealand and the Netherlands that link cannabis use to mental health problems."

Brown has previously said: "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."

Source: uk.news.yahoo.com
Copyright: 2008 Yahoo!
Contact: Yahoo
Website: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/epolitix/20080109/tpl-government-set-to-reclassify-cannabi-0a1c1a1.html
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