Cannabis law 'confusion slammed


Source: Essex Evening Gazette [UK]

Pub Date: Tuesday, January 27,2004

Author: Ben Attenborough


Web site:

Cited: Legalise Cannabis Alliance


Cannabis law 'confusion' slammed


A CAMPAIGNER for the legalisation of cannabis has criticised the way the Government has advertised changes to the drug law.


Don Barnard, a member of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance in Braintree, says the planned reclassification of cannabis has led to mass confusion.


He said: "There is still much confusion on how reclassification will work, the benefits to be gained, and the relative harms associated with cannabis use.


The changes in the law are due to come into effect on Thursday, from then cannabis will still be illegal but it will be downgraded from a category B to a category C drug.


It will still be an offence to possess, use or deal the drug, but there will be a "presumption against arrest" of cannabis users.

This would mean people possessing small quantities of the drug will normally get an formal warning and have the drug removed instead of facing arrest.  But people found dealing could still be arrested, especially if found dealing to vulnerable people.


However, Mr Barnard said: "It's an illusion of change. The laws on cannabis have not been amended.


"Reclassification is a change in sentencing practice not a change in law," he added.


He believes the prohibition of cannabis has made the situation worse and is arguing for access to the drug to be regulated rather than prohibited.


"The Legalise Cannabis Alliance strategy would help restrict access to the young, remove the criminal contact in obtaining cannabis from a street and introduce quality control."

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