DRUG OFFENCES SOAR 21% IN A YEAR
Home Office figures show that drug offences leapt by over 60% since Labour relaxed the law on cannabis possession in 2004. Drug crime rocketed by 21% last year alone. And there were 55,700 drug offences in July-September last year – police counted 34,600 drug offences in July-September 2004, the time of the reclassification. 55,000 drug offences were recorded Aril-June 2007, up 48,300 in the same period in 2006.
Critics (including Addiction Today) reiterated that the sharp rise proves former Home secretary David Blunkett made a serious blunder by downgrading cannabis from a Class B to C drug – meaning most users are no longer arrested. At the time of the reclassification, police counted 34,600 drug offences between July and September.
Prime minister Gordon Brown is currently weighing up whether to restore cannabis to Class B. Senior police officers, magistrates and medical experts support this move, but ministers await the latest report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in the next few weeks. But, worringly, Brown did not reverse, as initially announced, decisions for more casinos and 24-hour licensing.
In some areas, the number of mental disorders blamed on cannabis use has multiplied 10 times. This is a growing problem as potent skunk varieties become more popular, accounting for 75% of all drugs seized. For research on the medical harms caused by cannabis, click here.