SMOKING cannabis will no longer be against the law under new
Government plans.

From January, recreational users of the drug will be free from
prosecution, unless they are pushers, it emerged yesterday.

Cannabis will be downgraded to a Class C drug - although people
smoking near schools and playgrounds will face arrest and have the
cannabis confiscated.

No further action will be taken unless there are complaints from
locals, evidence of repeated possession or the smoking is in public.

But anti-drugs campaigners fear Britain's softly-softly approach will
encourage youngsters to try the drug.

Recent surveys reveal nearly 50 per cent of teenagers have already
experimented with cannabis.

Home Secretary David Blunkett's plans follow a campaign by
recreational users who argue the drug is less harmful than alcohol.

And many doctors claim the use of cannabis helps relieve the suffering
or those with diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Pubdate: Sat, 13 Sep 2003
Source: Mirror, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003 The Mirror