BROWN SET ON RE-CRIM
LONDON (Reuters) - Gordon Brown said on Tuesday
the government needs to send a message that
cannabis is "unacceptable," increasing
speculation he will decide to tighten drug laws.
Brown has received a report from The Advisory
Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on cannabis
and will decide soon whether to upgrade it to
Class B from a Class C, although a decision is
not expected this week.
Newspapers have predicted that Brown will
reclassify the drug even though the council has
reportedly advised the government to keep
cannabis in Class C.
"I don't think that the previous studies took
into account that so much of the cannabis on the
streets is now of a lethal quality and we really
have got to send out a message to young people --
this is not acceptable," Brown said.
"I have always been very strongly of the view
that cannabis is unacceptable and we have got to
send a message," he added.
Brown said he was particularly worried about the
growing use of skunk cannabis, which he described
as "more lethal".
Cannabis was downgraded to Class C -- which
includes substances such as anabolic steroids --
in 2004. That means possession of the drug is
treated largely as a non-arrestable offence.
But Brown launched a review by the advisory
council, which comprises doctors, police, judges
and counsellors, soon after he became prime
Brown's spokesman said on Tuesday the government
had a requirement to take into account the
council's views "and the views of others".
Going against the council's advice would be
controversial, given it plays a large role in
setting drug policy.
The Conservatives have accused Brown of dithering over the issue.