Drugs Leak Sows UK Policy Confusion

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Digit, Jul 7, 2002.

  1. Drugs Leak Sows Policy Confusion
    Posted by CN Staff on July 06, 2002 at 20:47:04 PT
    By Kamal Ahmed, Political Editor
    Source: Observer UK

    The Government's drugs policy was mired in confusion last night after a leaked letter revealed that David Blunkett is seeking to 'get tough' with dealers in cannabis by doubling jail sentences.
    The letter, dated 2 July and obtained by The Observer, reveals deep fears at the heart of government that moves to effectively decriminalise cannabis show that Labour has gone 'soft' on drugs.

    The Prime Minister is known to be particularly concerned that Middle England parents will punish the Government at the polls because of the change in cannabis policy.

    'We have to handle this very, very carefully,' said one Whitehall official. 'We do not want to give the public the wrong impression about our attitude to drugs.'

    An announcement will be made this week that the Government is to lay an order before the House of Commons moving cannabis from a Class B to a Class C drug. It will come as part of the official response to the ground-breaking Home Affairs Select Committee report on drugs earlier this year, which called for the decriminalisation of cannabis.

    But the letter shows that the Home Secretary will also legislate to double the maximum length of sentence dealers will serve from five to 10 years, putting dealing in cannabis on a par with serious gun crime and violent assault.

    Drugs campaigners immediately condemned the move, saying that it gave a 'completely confused message' to the public about the use of cannabis.

    Blunkett will also allow police to retain arrest powers for people using cannabis, although the sentence for possession will be reduced from five to two years.

    Police will be able to arrest and charge cannabis-users if there are 'aggravating factors', the letter says. Whitehall sources said that examples would be smoking cannabis in front of children or outside schools or when at work and operating machinery.

    Drugs campaigners said the new power would defeat the object of reclassifying cannabis, because the police would still be wasting resources picking up users.

    'It is not intended that re-classification should detract in any way from the simple message that all controlled drugs including cannabis are harmful in keeping with their classification and no one should take them,' the letter says.

    'The change will make clearer the distinction between cannabis and Class A drugs like heroin and cocaine. It is important to leave no one in any doubt that the supply and possession of cannabis will not have been legalised by reclassification.

    'Government takes the supply and dealing of cannabis very seriously and accordingly it intends to bring forward legislation to increase the maximum penalty for supplying and dealing in Class C drugs from 5 to 10 years' imprisonment.'

    Blunkett wrote the letter last week to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, in his capacity as chairman of the Domestic Affairs Committee, which governs domestic policy.

    It was copied to the Prime Minister, Sir Richard Wilson, head of the civil service, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Estelle Morris, the Education Secretary.

    Blunkett is also about to announce a campaign aimed at young people, warning about the dangers of drugs - particularly cannabis.

    Drugs campaigners said that the public would be left with contradictory messages. Steve Rolles of Transform, the drugs charity, said: 'It sows total confusion in people's minds.'

    Note: Blunkett wants to 'get tough' with cannabis dealers.

    Observer Special Reports: Drugs Uncovered: http://www.observer.co.uk/drugs/0,11908,686419,00.html

    Source: Observer, The (UK)
    Author: Kamal Ahmed, Political Editor
    Published: Sunday, July 7, 2002
    Contact: letters@observer.co.uk
    Website: http://www.observer.co.uk/

    Related Articles & Web Sites:

    Drugs Uncovered: Observer Special

    The Uncovered Poll - Observer UK

    Revealed: Britain's Drug Habit

    Time To Be Adult About Drugs
  2. The worst you're likely to get these days if you walk down the street smoking a spliff is a dirty look from some parent with a young child. If you're sitting in the park, quite obviously tokin' it up, the cops won't come looking for you, even though they know perfectly well what you're up to... The government are so out of touch with the majority of public opinion... never mind though, I'm going to smoke some bongs. in my room. missing out on the nice sunny day. because it's illegal. bitchezzZ!

  3. I'm asuming our friend in Cannabis is speaking from jolly ol' England, which is great to have a place where people from every spot of the world can come and refer to it as "the gov't" instead of "the gov't over here in the UK". It shows that Cannabis can bring us together so well, that Americans are finally the majority. Over here, we're not fortunate enough to have any leneancy among police officers, or so we have to treat it. My land is so large, you have everything from amazing angels, to the darkest of greed. Most folks I know wouldn't even think about smoking in public. The police force is the mass populous with distorted views of EVERYTHING, and that is by far the worst thing we have. If only people had more than one side of the story coming to them, then we would all live together in more peace.

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