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  1. klaatu
    UK - Cannabis 'should remain Class C'

    BBC
    3rd April 2008

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7327702.stm

    The official body which advises the government on drugs policy has decided cannabis should remain a Class C drug, the BBC understands.

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' decision would appear to go against the view of Gordon Brown, who favours returning the drug to Class B.

    The government asked the council to review cannabis's legal status amid concerns over stronger forms of it.

    The council refused to confirm or deny a decision.

    Chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said a report would be sent to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith this month.

    University study

    BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the decision was taken at a private meeting of the council, which discussed some significant new research from Keele University about links between cannabis and mental illness.

    The study found nothing to support a theory that rising cannabis use in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s led to increases in the incidence of schizophrenia later on.

    The Advisory Council's decision leaves the government in an awkward position, our correspondent adds.

    Gordon Brown has indicated he favours transferring cannabis back to Class B to send a message about the dangers of the drug, particularly to teenagers.

    If the government does reclassify, it would be rejecting the findings of the Advisory Council's panel of 23 drug experts, which has never happened before on a decision about drug classification.

    Mental health charity Sane was one group which gave evidence to the advisory group.

    Marjorie Wallace from the charity said not enough was yet known about the direct links between cannabis and the brain, particularly the developing brain.

    She said she has heard of hundreds of cases where people have smoked cannabis heavily, in particular the stronger form of skunk, and gone on to suffer psychotic breakdowns, hallucinations, paranoia and feelings of fear.

    "Young people are literally dicing with their minds and futures," she told BBC News.

    "And if you have ever seen someone who has taken heavy cannabis and gone on a trip from which they have never really returned and you have seen the collateral damage to them and their families, then you have to look at it from that point of view."


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    Klaatu

Comments

  1. Alfa
    Cannabis 'should remain class C'

    The official body which advises the government on drugs policy has decided cannabis should remain a class C drug, the BBC understands.

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' decision appears to go against the view of Gordon Brown, who seems to favour returning the drug to class B.

    The government asked the council to review cannabis's legal status amid concerns over stronger forms of it.

    Downing Street said the council was some way from making a final decision.

    The council's chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins refused to confirm or deny a decision, and said a report would be sent to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith later this month.

    The expected decision has caused concern among mental health charities who say skunk, a stronger form of the drug, can trigger psychotic breakdowns.

    Others say public health education would be a better route than reclassification.

    University study

    BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the decision was taken at a private meeting of the council, which discussed significant new research from Keele University about links between cannabis and mental illness.

    The study found nothing to support a theory that rising cannabis use in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s led to increases in the incidence of schizophrenia later on.

    The Advisory Council's decision leaves the government in an awkward position, our correspondent added.

    Gordon Brown has indicated he favours transferring cannabis back to class B to send a message about the dangers of the drug, particularly to teenagers.

    At a news conference earlier this week, he said that - given the changing nature of cannabis and the greater damage being caused - there was a stronger case for sending out a signal that cannabis was not only illegal, but unacceptable.

    If the government does reclassify, it would be rejecting the findings of the Advisory Council's panel of 23 drug experts, which has never happened before on a decision about drug classification.

    Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she would not comment on the review until she had received it.

    On Thursday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said reports that the advisory body would recommend cannabis remain a class C drug were premature.

    "The Advisory Council themselves are still some way away from reaching final conclusions," he said.

    Mass criminalisation


    Cannabis was downgraded from a class B drug to class C in January 2004.

    The move was designed to free up police time and allow officers to concentrate on tackling harder drugs.

    Adults found carrying cannabis are unlikely to be arrested, and young people are most likely to be arrested and reprimanded.

    Possession of the class C drug does carry a maximum penalty of a two-year prison sentence, but this is rarely served. People found to be carrying a class B drug can be given up to a five-year sentence.

    Steve Rolles, of the Transform Drugs Policy Foundation, said increasing jail sentences from two years to five through reclassification was not the best way to send a strong signal to teenagers about the dangers of the drug.

    "Rather than mass criminalisation of millions of young people, the best way would be to invest in effective, targeted public health education," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

    He said current estimates suggested 2 million people in the country were regular cannabis users, 4 million dabbled occasionally and 6 million had tried it.

    But former government drugs advisor Keith Hellawell said the government should never have reclassified cannabis to class C.

    He said the move created confusion for police, teachers, parents and young people by sending out the wrong message.

    Mental health charity Sane was one group which gave evidence to the advisory group.

    Marjorie Wallace, the charity's chief executive, said not enough was yet known about the direct links between cannabis and the brain.

    She said she knew of hundreds of cases where people smoked cannabis heavily, in particular skunk, and went on to suffer psychotic breakdowns, hallucinations and paranoia.

    "Young people are literally dicing with their minds and futures," she told BBC News.

    "If you have ever seen someone who has taken heavy cannabis and gone on a trip from which they have never really returned, and you have seen the collateral damage to them and their families, then you have to look at it from that point of view."

    Debra Bell, chief executive of parents' group Talking About Cannabis, also gave evidence to the advisory council.

    Her son became a heavy user after starting to smoke cannabis at 14, and she believes the government message is very important.

    "When I spoke to my son, pleading with him as he became more and more ill and I watched him turn into a stranger in our own house... I said to him 'this is a very dangerous drug, just look at the research'.

    "He turned to me and said 'you've got it wrong, even the government think it's safe to smoke'."

    Police chiefs want cannabis to return to class B.

    The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said it stood by its recommendation made to the Advisory Council that cannabis should be restored to the category of a class B drug.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7327702.stm
  2. Alfa
    Brown set to tighten cannabis law

    Downing Street has signalled that Gordon Brown remains determined to tighten the law on cannabis, despite reports that the official advisory body is set to recommend against re-classification.
    (Advertisement)

    The Prime Minister's spokesman sought to play down a BBC report that the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) had concluded that there was no need to re-classify cannabis again as a Class B drug.

    He said that the report appeared to be based on a single presentation and that the committee had yet to reach any final conclusions.

    Mr Brown, he said, stood by his comments at his Downing Street press conference on Tuesday when he said that the Government needed to send out a signal that cannabis use was not just illegal but also unacceptable.

    "With regard to the Prime Minister's position, I think he made that fairly clear at his press conference," the spokesman said.

    Mr Brown ordered the committee to carry out a review of the 2004 decision to downgrade cannabis to a Class C drug in one of his first acts on becoming Prime Minister last year.

    According to the BBC report, the committee has now concluded there is no need re-classify it again after new research produced no evidence that rising cannabis use in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s had led to increases in the incidence of schizophrenia.

    However, the Prime Minister's spokesman insisted that the committee had not made any final conclusions.

    "Some of these reports seem to be getting ahead of themselves. We are not expecting to receive the report from the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs for at least another another month or so," he said.

    "As we understand it, this report is based on one presentation that was given to a meeting. The advisory body themselves are still some way away from making any final conclusions on this."

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/pressass/20080403/tuk-brown-set-to-tighten-cannabis-law-6323e80.html
  3. klaatu
  4. Pondlife
    Re: UK - Cannabis 'should remain Class C'

    There has been quite a lot of discussion on this topic on BBC radio today.

    It appears that the ACMD decision to recommend that cannabis remain class C was agreed by almost all the ACMD members - it wasn't a close cut thing. It's also pretty obvious that the Brown government will override the ACMD recommendations. Indeed the decision to reclassify to class B irrespective of ACMD's recommendation was taken last year.

    We can expect the government to explain this by saying the ACMD's role is purely advisory, and that this is a decision for the government to make. There will also probably be a few snide remarks that imply that the ACMD are not looking at "the big picture".

    There have been a few organisations including ACPO coming out on the government's side.

    The government has voiced the opinion that the ACMD is rather liberal, which I think is code for "a bunch of hippies". I think that could backfire though, because it only takes a casual look at the ACMD membership to see that it's got some pretty heavyweight people on board from many different professions.

    One big question is whether there will be any resignations from ACMD as a result. I remember that they threatened this before. But maybe that would just be playing into the government's hands, and give it a chance to "reform" the ACMD or maybe even abolish it.
  5. PingoTango
    Re: UK - Cannabis 'should remain Class C'

    ::EDIT - In a bout of stupidity I quoted the whole news article again, for which I apologise profusely :laugh: ::


    To be honest, I can't see why this should worry the average recreational cannabis smoker. It won't make it any harder to find (the penalties for supply don't increase), I'd be surprised if it had much of an impact on usage figures, and AFAIK this won't affect the legality of seeds, growing equipment etc

    The people who I think will be affected most are those who use on cannabis for medical/therapeutic reasons - it'll certainly make it harder for drug companies to carry out research into non-recreational use of cannabis in the UK.
  6. klaatu
  7. TMM
    Re: UK - Cannabis 'should remain Class C'

    That's what I hate about democracy. People with no specific or pertinent knowledge can vote on decisions they aren't even remotely qualified to talk about.

    But then again, the whole process is hardly democratic anyway, is it?
  8. babylashes
    I was watching the news today and there was a mother describing that cannabis was a gateway to her son using heroin which he overdosed on and died. I am interested to know if there is such evidence to support the Gateway theory. I personally have my doubts on this, i used to smoke but never took heroin and i know alot of people who smoke or have smoked but have never tried heroin or harder drugs.
  9. Paracelsus
    Please use the search engine to find threads about the gateway theory.
  10. klaatu
  11. Pretend_you_dont_see_Her
    Yay, Keele University did the study lol.. I didnt know about it till i read the article tho, and thats the same with a lot of people i know..
  12. klaatu
    Klaatu says "My goodness - a rare bit of sanity. Let's hope it's not drowned out by the noise of the rest of the media jumping onto the ban-it-to-save-the-children bandwagon."

    Voice of the Mirror
    Rethink on drugs due

    4th April 2008

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/voiceofthemirror/2008/04/04/rethink-on-drugs-due-89520-20372169/

    The public debate about drugs is welcome if we, as a country, are to find a way forward.

    The Prime Minister's instinct is to reclassify cannabis and impose tougher penalties to send out a strong signal.

    Experts on the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs seem to favour the government's 2002 decision to make it a class C drug.

    We hope this debate has just begun.

    The Conservative party's demands that Gordon Brown should just do something now are barely more than ill-conceived student politics by David Cameron.

    What counts is getting the decision right - and a wider inquiry is needed, perhaps also looking at the current bracketing of ecstasy with cocaine and heroin.

    Decades of criminalising cannabis users has failed and perhaps the way forward is to treat this drug as a health education issue, like alcohol and tobacco.

    Prejudice and party point-scoring must not be allowed to get in the way of rational policy-making.


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    Klaatu
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