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DrugScope: Response to Charles Clarke's comments on cannabis

Drugscope, 6th January 2006

Responding to Charles Clarke's comments regarding the classification of cannabis today, Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope said:

"We supported the reclassification of cannabis but will support the Advisory Council's latest recommendation, whatever it is confirmed as being.

The Government is not required to accept the Council's recommendation, but there would have to be very compelling reasons indeed to go against the advice of the independent expert body.

The Government has accepted recent recommendations on the classification of ketamine and crystal meth. A different response on cannabis would set a potentially damaging precedent and could undermine confidence in the way that drugs are classified and relative harms determined.

Cannabis can be harmful and we fully support the Home Secretary's intention to launch a major public health campaign to highlight the risks.

If the Advisory Council recommends that cannabis remain a Class C drug but the Government moves it back to B this could create confusion and is unlikely to make much, if any, impact on levels of use. There are encouraging signs that since reclassification levels of use have stablised and has actually fallen among young people."

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