RECLASSIFY CANNABIS BACK TO A CLASS-B DRUG
"The government made a serious mistake on cannabis." Make your views known before the ACMD takes evidence in February
By DEBRA BELL, chair of the Talking About Cannabis Parental Action Group
Figures published today [11 January 2008] showing a 50% increase in people presenting for cannabis abuse demonstrates the extent of the problem of cannabis abuse, which is particularly affecting young people and their families.
The government made a serious mistake in down-classifying cannabis, and reclassification back to Class B will be a public acknowledgment of this. It was a national scandal.
Thousands of parents across the UK have been left in the mire since that decision was made. Many of our children and teenagers used the downgrading as an excuse to smoke cannabis, and to do so more openly. Many believe it to be legal and schools are riddled with the stuff. All who smoke this drug in childhood will be adversely affected.
One of the worst aspects of the government’s decision was that parents were undermined. Many of us begged our addicted teens to stop using cannabis, in light of the emerging evidence linking cannabis use to mental illness from respected medics like Professor Murray, only to be told by our children that we must be mistaken â€“ if the government of the land did not take cannabis seriously then why should we?
This is unacceptable. Many parents have written to me describing the hell that becomes their family life when their children are regular users of cannabis.
Interestingly, I doubt that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will advise that cannabis be reclassified, without prompting from government. At an open meeting of the ACMD in November, I asked to give personal representation to the review committee in February, as a voice for families. This was accepted by Professor Sir Michael Rawlins… but I am disappointed to have now received a letter from him inviting me to give written evidence only.
It was clear at the open meeting that Professor Rawlins did not want to reconsider his previous recommendations, openly stating that he considered refusing to re-open the matter again. This did not auger well.
We look forward now to a public health campaign to dispel confusion about the dangers of cannabis on the young, and to powerful educational packages for schools.
Addiction Today journal has been publishing research on the adverse effects of cannabis since its November 2000 issue, in an endeavour to prevent the downgrading of cannabis classification, then for it to be reclassified back to a class-B drug. The data will be uploaded onto this website throughout January.
Data is also available at Talking About Cannabis