Softening of Attitude Prompted Law U-Turn 

Softening of Attitude Prompted Law U-Turn 
Posted by FoM on October 23, 2001 at 18:42:13 PT
By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent
Source: Times U.K.
David Blunkett executed one of the Government’s biggest U-turns when he announced a major relaxation of the law on cannabis yesterday. Almost two years ago Labour, fearful of being portrayed by middle England as “soft on drugs”, rejected most of the findings of a review of drug laws carried out by Viscountess Runciman of Doxford. Her investigation into the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, the legal template for defining the social disapproval and addictive nature of certain drugs, recommended moving cannabis from a category B to a category C drug. 
However, with cannabis the most widely used drug in all age groups, the existing law was increasingly seen as having little credibility. The 2000 British Crime Survey found that 44 per cent of 16 to 29-year-olds had used cannabis at some time in their life; 22 per cent had used the drug in the last year, and 14 per cent in the last month. Chief constables, particularly those with large inner city areas, were also complaining that huge amounts of police time was devoted to dealing with cannabis offences. In 1999, 120,000 people were dealt with for drugs offences; 68 per cent of them were up for possession of cannabis. Police who arrest someone for possession of cannabis take between two and three hours to process them. By recategorising cannabis as a class C drug, officers will no longer have to spend hours dealing with offenders. Someone found in possession of cannabis will either be cautioned, given a formal warning or issued with a summons to appear at court. It is likely that police will only arrest people found with cannabis if they are discovered to have a large amount or are persistent offenders. Under an experiment in Lambeth, South London, drug users found with small amount of cannabis are no longer arrested but are let off with a formal warning, a process that only takes ten minutes of an officer’s time. Source: Times, The (UK)Author: Richard Ford, Home CorrespondentPublished: Wednesday, October 24, 2001Copyright: 2001 Times Newspapers LtdContact: letters Articles:Cannabis Smokers Will Not Be Arrested Arrests for Cannabis Use are To End & A: Cannabis Reclassification 
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