UK: Cannabis damages your brain campaign slammed
Source: Evening News, Norwich
Date: October 24 2006
Author: Dan Grimmer
Legalise Cannabis Alliance http://www.lca-uk.org
A hard-hitting TV commercial warning youngsters of the damage cannabis can do to the brain was today criticised by a group which has campaigned for years in support of the drug.
The advert, by drug helpline Frank, is set in a “brain shop” in the future where customers can buy new brains when their own have become too addled.
It aims to highlight how prolonged use of cannabis can lead to mood swings, poor motivation, paranoia and vomiting.
But Don Barnard, a spokesman for the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA), which has its head office in Norwich, said: “Once again, it's not been thought out. I don't think young people will relate to it. The good idea was to reclassify cannabis so they could concentrate police efforts and educate young people about hard drugs like cocaine. They should concentrate on getting a sensible message out.
“We want the same thing they do. We want people to be safe, and to understand that there can be some problems with cannabis, but they're going the wrong way about it. It's time to consider regulating cannabis rather than demonising it.”
A spokesman for Frank said the aim of the advert was to get the message through to 11 to 17-year-olds, among whom the use of the Class C drug has increased since it was declassified from a Class B drug.
Norfolk police was not able to provide statistics of how many under 18-year-olds had been arrested for possessing cannabis.
But Richard Price, drug liaison officer for the force, said: “My gut reaction is that Norfolk has probably bucked the trend in that cannabis use has remained fairly static since declassification in 2004.”
Unlike adults, who can receive a caution if caught with cannabis, people under 18 are arrested.
Mr Price said: “Young people need to remember that cannabis might have been reclassified but it is still an illegal drug.
“It can impact upon their career opportunities and movement in some countries if they have a conviction.”
Norwich coroner William Armstrong has in the past described cannabis as a “gateway drug” to harder drugs for vulnerable youngsters.
Do you have a drugs story? Call health reporter Sarah Hall on 01603 7724226 or email her at sarah.hall2.@archant.co.uk
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