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Home Secretary 'Smoked Cannabis And It Was Wrong'

Lord Mong

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The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, admitted today that she smoked cannabis when she was at university.
Ms Smith was asked the question on GMTV while discussing the prime minister's announcement yesterday of a review into whether the drug should be reinstated to class B after it was downgraded to class C three years ago.

She said: "I have. I did when I was at university. I think it was wrong that I smoked it when I did. I have not done for 25 years."

The home secretary is due to formally announce the review today as part of a wide-ranging drugs review that in part reflects concern about skunk, a stronger form of cannabis being blamed for an increase in mental health disorders.
"I share other people's concerns about the effect that cannabis has on young people and mental health problems," Ms Smith told the programme.

"So, actually I think in some ways I have learnt my lesson and I have a responsibility as home secretary now to make sure we put in place the laws and the support and information to make sure we carry on bringing cannabis use down, which we are doing."

Ms Smith said she did not think people would consider her unfit for the job of home secretary as a result of her admission. "On the whole I think people think human beings should do jobs like this. I am not proud about it, I did the wrong thing.

"One of the things about being a politician is that you are often criticised for not knowing what's going on. I hope that my experiences in my life have actually helped me understand that I do want crime tackled."

If cannabis were returned to class B, anyone in possession of the drug would again be liable for arrest. It was downgraded in 2004 while David Blunkett was home secretary. Since then, concerns have grown among doctors and MPs that its classification does not reflect the health dangers it poses.

Last year, a report from the government's advisory council on misuse of drugs found sufficient scientific evidence to suggest a causal link between cannabis use and long-term psychotic symptoms, but said the risks were not serious enough to warrant a class B rating.

The Conservatives welcomed the review, announced a week after their own policy group on social breakdown recommended reclassification.

But the charity Drugscope warned that another change of classification would only confuse young people. Police chiefs, who pressed for the original reclassification because they said arrest for possession was taking up too much of officers' time, were also cautious.

News Mod: Lord Mong - www.420Magazine.com
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Author: David Batty
Contact: news@guardian.co.uk
Copyright: 2007
Website: Five cabinet ministers confess to smoking cannabis
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