Playing politics with cannabis classification. Again.
Gordon Brown has announced yet another review of the classification of cannabis. This follows a resurgence in media scare stories on the drug and recent calls from the Tories high profile calls for the drug to be reclassified back to B.
The review will be part of long awaited consultation on the new drug strategy (as the 1998 10-year strategy nears its end), although the Home Office have also announced that the issue will be returned the the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for the third time in 5 years.
A Transform spokesperson said;
'This announcement is all about political posturing, and has nothing to do with science. It follows in the wake of a series of all-to-familiar cannabis health panics, which have been hyped up by certain newspapers and more recently the Tory party who have been vocally calling for reclassification back to B.
'In reality the potency issue and the mental health issues associated with cannabis are well understood and have not changed significantly since they were last reviewed by the ACMD in 2005. The ACMD will not be happy to have to rake over the coals yet again: there is no evidence to warrant another time consuming review, and even if there were, there is also no evidence to suggest another reclassification would reduce harm.
'Classification appears to be entirely irrelevant to levels of use, or associated harms; Since the move from B to C in 2004, cannabis use has continued its slow decline, according to data from the British Crime Survey.
'It is the criminalisation of cannabis, and the unregulated illegal markets this creates, that is responsible for increasing the harms associated with its supply and use. If the Government is serious about reducing harm they should legally regulate the trade and use their limited resources to educate young people about the risks.
Background info from Transform:
Cannabis reclassification revisted
the Advisory council looked again at cannabis reclassification, at the request of the Home Secretary. TDPF has made its consultation briefing available here.
Examines the political and policing issues around the decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class C drug at the end of January 2004.
How the Independent got it horribly wrong on cannabis:
debunking the various strands of the latest cannabis panic