Pubdate: Sun, 25 Sep 2005
Source: Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: Telegraph Group Limited 2005
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


The decision to downgrade cannabis taken last year by David Blunkett could 
be reversed, and the drug reclassified as dangerous, with its possession 
even for personal use made an arrestable offence.

The Government's drugs advisory panel met yesterday to consider the 
reclassification after renewed fears over its side-effects, including 
serious mental illness.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, asked the panel for guidance on the 
dangers of cannabis, with emphasis on its high-strength version, skunk, 
after recent studies linked it with psychotic symptoms, including the 
hearing of voices.

If the drug is reclassified it will be a significant U-turn. Last year Mr 
Blunkett, then the Home Secretary, downgraded cannabis to Class C - placing 
it in the same bracket as steroids and some anti-depressants.

The move meant that possession of cannabis for personal use was no longer 
an arrestable offence.

Since then a New Zealand study has shown that regular cannabis use 
increases the risk of developing psychotic symptoms. The advisory panel is 
expected to report by the end of the year.
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