A government report has recommended. If ministers accept the advice users could be free to smoke it in public without fear of arrest.
Medical experts at the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said the current classification of cannabis alongside substances like amphetamines was "disproportionate" to its harmfulness.
A decision on the recommendations will be made after a Home Affairs select committee report on drugs strategy and a review of a pilot project in Lambeth, south London. Both are due by Easter. It is refreshing to have a Home Secretary who is at last willing to open up the debate on drugs. The prime minister's official spokesman said that while Home Secretary David Blunkett had said he was "minded" to re-classify cannabis "there are no plans for decriminalisation or legalisation".
Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said downgrading or decriminalising cannabis would be an ill-thought out solution to a complex problem. During a visit to Langdon College in Salford he said: "Anybody who knows about the difficulties in communities, about young people who are trying drugs and moving on to harder drugs, knows it is far more complex than that."
ACMD chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said his report was not saying cannabis was harmless.
Few Health Risks
"Cannabis is associated with some risks of health but the council concludes that these are less than the risks posed by other Class B drugs such as amphetamine," he said. The report found the use of cannabis, which has risen sharply over the past 20 years, does not cause any major health problems and rarely causes serious illness in previously healthy people.
Cannabis Downgraded to a Class C Drug
Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008 @ 22:38:35 EST in Drugs