Clarke Will Not Change Legal Status of Cannabis

Clarke Will Not Change Legal Status of Cannabis
Posted by CN Staff on January 18, 2006 at 10:40:36 PT
By Times Online and PA News
Source: Times Online UK
United Kingdom -- Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is expected to rule out another reclassification of cannabis tomorrow despite fresh fears about the drug’s side-effects. Concerns about a link between super-strength varieties and mental illness have mounted since his predecessor David Blunkett down-graded the drug from Class B to C. But Mr Clarke is expected launch a major public information campaign instead of adding to confusion by again changing the classification.
His announcement follows an unpublished report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which apparently found the impact of smoking cannabis on mental health was more serious than previously thought. The council is said to have stopped short of recommending reclassification and many drugs experts believe that would be counter-productive. The council report is said to have concluded: "The risk to an individual of developing a schizophreniform illness as a result of using cannabis is very small. "The harmfulness of cannabis to the individual remains substantially less than the harmfulness caused by substances currently controlled under the act as Class B."Mr Clarke was apparently warned by council members that some would consider quitting if he reclassified the drug. The new Tory leader, David Cameron, was a member of the Commons committee which recommended down-grading it and his party is no longer pushing for reclassification.The Home Secretary has been criticised for spreading confusion after voicing concerns about the effects of cannabis. He will hope to counter that with the hard-hitting campaign about the risks the drug poses, which will also warn young people that cannabis is neither legal nor safe despite its reclassification.Reclassifying cannabis from Class B to C made possession of it a non-arrestable offence in most cases. Source: Times Online (UK)Published: January 18, 2006Copyright: 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.Contact: debate Website: Articles:Expert Advisers Threaten Revolt Against Clarke About Cannabis? You Bet Paves Way for U-Turn on Cannabis 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 19, 2006 at 17:13:21 PT
Related Article from The Guardian Unlimited UK
Clarke Rules Out Cannabis Reclassification ***David Batty and AgenciesThursday January 19, 2006 The home secretary, Charles Clarke, today ruled out another reclassification of cannabis despite recent warnings that the drug can cause serious mental illness.
Mr Clarke said cannabis would not be changed back to a class B drug, instead announcing a public health campaign to warn people of the health risks associated with its use.He told MPs that his decision to keep cannabis as a class C drug had followed advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and was supported by police and most drug and mental health charities.The council's unpublished report is said to have concluded that the risk of someone developing schizophrenia as a result of using cannabis was "very small".It is believed to have said it was a "substantially less" harmful drug than those currently classified as class B, including amphetamines such as speed and barbiturates.Cliff Prior, the chief executive of the mental health charity Rethink, welcomed the decision to better educate the public about the links between cannabis use and mental ill health."We want people to have the clearest possible understanding of the link between long-term and early age use of cannabis and schizophrenia," he said. "This is a huge public health issue with potentially serious consequences for many thousands of the four million regular cannabis users in this country."Mr Clarke ordered a review of the 2004 reclassification of cannabis last year when he admitted the change had confused the public about the drug's legal status and health risks.Following the reclassification, a series of health studies warned that cannabis could be linked to schizophrenia and depression. One, carried out in New Zealand, suggested regular cannabis use increased the risk of developing psychotic symptoms later in life.Another report, from Maastricht University, concluded that taking the drug "moderately increased" the chance of psychotic symptoms in young people, but added that it had "a much stronger effect in those with evidence of predisposition for psychosis".Copyright: Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006,,1690363,00.html
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Comment #8 posted by Max Flowers on January 19, 2006 at 09:46:38 PT
Manly MPs, cowardly congresspersons
It's too bad that all our esteemed members of Congress don't have the combined courage that a lot of those MPs have in their little finger alone. If they did, we'd be getting out of this nightmare already.
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on January 18, 2006 at 17:52:49 PT
He is facing a massive revolt from MPs regarding his approval to tap their phones and then there's this failed re-reclassification ordeal and now all of a sudden all the media talks about is a bogus scheme to kidnap Blair's youngest son, Leo. Sure, as if Blair's sons aren't protected like Fort Knox! He is going down.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 18, 2006 at 15:27:38 PT
Updated Article from The Times Online UK
Clarke Decides That Cannabis Penalties are High Enough ***By Rosemary Bennett and Richard Ford January 19, 2006
Charles Clarke will rule out reclassifying cannabis as a Class B drug today, despite fresh warnings that it can trigger schizophrenia. The Home Secretary will tell MPs that the panel of scientific experts he appointed to examine the impact of cannabis on mental health believes that there is a “causal” link between it and psychosis. However, the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs concludes in its report that the risks are small and do not merit reclassifying cannabis back to a Class B drug. 
The Home Secretary, who will publish the council’s report in full today, told The Times in an interview this month that the public had been confused about the legality of the drug and the risks in taking it after the decision to downgrade it. He pledged to mount a hard-hitting public information campaign on those risks, especially the dangers to mental health. Mr Clarke will confirm this in a statement today, saying that the Government failed to get across the message that the drug was harmful and that possession remained illegal when it was downgraded two years ago. He will tell MPs that a massive public information campaign will be mounted to warn the public of the dangers from cannabis and, in particular, the strong new variety, skunk. The public will also be told that the drug remains illegal and that punishment for being found in possession of cannabis is a maximum jail term of two years. Whitehall officials say that, given the evidence, they believe that cannabis should never have been downgraded, but it would cause even more upheaval and confusion to reverse the decision. The main criticism of the Home Secretary’s decision will come from psychiatrists, who have called for immediate reclassification. Copyright: 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd.,,2-1995854,00.html
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Comment #5 posted by whig on January 18, 2006 at 14:30:22 PT
As long as we're watching videos
What could it be like to order pizza in a total surveillance society?
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Comment #4 posted by Richard Zuckerman on January 18, 2006 at 13:57:44 PT:
My membership in the Marijuana decriminalization movement has been for adult use, NOT JUVENILES!! 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 18, 2006 at 13:54:03 PT
A Video
With all the heavy news when I found this in an e-mail group I watched it. It's called Blue Berry Yum Yum.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 18, 2006 at 12:03:06 PT
Off Topic: Human Rights Watch 2006
I just saw this on CNN and thought others might want to see it too.Human Rights Watch World Report 2006 U.S. Policy of Abuse Undermines Rights WorldwideNew evidence demonstrated in 2005 that torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism strategy, undermining the global defense of human rights. Many countries used the “war on terrorism” to attack their political opponents, branding them as “Islamic terrorists,” and the world report documents many serious abuses outside the fight against terrorism.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 18, 2006 at 10:43:44 PT
Related Article from The Guardian Unlimited UK
Clarke To Announce Decision on Cannabis Classification ***Wednesday, January 18, 2006 The home secretary, Charles Clarke, will announce tomorrow whether or not the government is intending to return cannabis to class B status.
His statement will set out the government's response to a report from the advisory council on the misuse of drugs, looking at the latest scientific evidence on cannabis potency and links with mental health problems such as schizophrenia.At the weekend experts from that panel - whose internal Home Office review has not been made public, but rejects reclassification back up to class B - threatened to resign if the home secretary ignores that advice.Complete Article:,,1689438,00.html
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