Added: Amela Schweigert - Date: 24.03.2022 05:25 - Views: 38150 - Clicks: 5756
The government today reclassified cannabis from a class C drug to class B, which means maximum penalties increase to five years for possession and 14 years for supply. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, reversed the government's earlier lowering of its classification after research linked heavy use of the stronger and increasingly common "skunk" cannabis with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
So have the days of Reefer Madness returned? Or is this crackdown justified on a drug widely associated with 60s counterculture, Rastafarians, and, increasingly, medicinal use? In May last year Smith reversed the government's decision to downgrade cannabis to class C. Smith has argued the reversal "errs on the side of caution" and will protect the public. But the ACMD stands by its original research and yesterday one of its members, Professor David Nutt, said that while there were some cases of unpleasant mental reactions, these were "relatively small in " and he was not convinced the reclassification would have any benefit.
There is disagreement, though. Another study in the same year showed that one of the active chemicals in cannabis inhibits psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia, while another chemical may increase symptoms. Some drug charities and thinktanks say that simply reclassifying is unlikely to stop people using cannabis. Part of the reason cannabis was downgraded in was to let police focus on tackling more serious drug abuses.
The new law seeks to make the police more active in penalising users with spot fines for possession, which will presumably take up more resources. There are supporters of the reclassification among the police, such as Detective Chief Superintendent Andy West from Lincolnshire police, who was in charge of the investigation of Stevie Barton, a student killed by a paranoid cannabis user in West says the upgrade "sends out a message".
The reclassification raises questions over the medicinal use of cannabis. One Welsh man recently wrote to the government asking that users like him be allowed to grow and use the drug without fear of prosecution. So how strong are the scientific arguments, for and against? Should we be more concerned about other drugs or alcohol? Should cracking down on cannabis be a priority for police?
News blog Drugs policy. Cannabis just got more serious. Drug moved back into class B as home secretary worries about strong 'skunk' on the streets — but is it a backwards step? Angela Balakrishnan. Reuse this content.Cannabis class b or c
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