Cannabis upgraded by government

HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith today upgraded cannabis to a Class B drug - rejecting the advice of the government's own experts.The move comes after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said the health dangers from cannabis did not justify its inclusion in the higher category.

HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith today upgraded cannabis to a Class B drug - rejecting the advice of the government's own experts.

The move comes after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said the health dangers from cannabis did not justify its inclusion in the higher category.

Ms Smith said the government was determined to "err on the side of caution''.

She said: "I have given the council's report careful consideration. Of the council's 21 recommendations I accept all bar those relating to classification.


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"I have decided to reclassify cannabis to a Class B drug, subject to Parliamentary approval.''

She added: "There is a compelling case for us to act now rather than risk the future health of young people.

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"Where there is a clear and serious problem, but doubt about the harm that will be caused, we must err on the side of caution and protect the public.

"I make no apology for that - I am not prepared to 'wait and see'.''

mf Ms Smith said her decision took into account the "public perception'' of cannabis, and pressures on policing.

Research from 23 police forces in England and Wales is also being published today, indicating that four-fifths of cannabis seized on the streets is now the extremely potent "skunk'' variety.

Shadow home secretary David Davis welcomed the reclassification, but asked why it had taken so long.

"The Government's lax approach to drugs is the hallmark of our broken society under Labour,'' he told MPs.

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