to consider asking the Government to reverse the
controversial reclassification of cannabis, it
was revealed today.
motion at the Magistrates Association's annual
conference will claim that moving the drug from
Class B to Class C has led to greater use of the
drug and given out the wrong messages to young
JPs will discuss
next month whether to call on ministers to
overturn the downgrading of the drug, which came
into force in January 2004.
The motion was
put forward by members of the association's
youth courts committee including vice-chairman
Ted Weston of the Buckinghamshire bench.
It was proposed
by Roger Davy from the West Yorkshire bench.
The motion said:
"This annual general meeting considers that the
impact of reclassifying cannabis from Class B to
Class C has given out the wrong messages to
young people and led to greater use of the drug
to the detriment of young people.
"It urges the
Government to return to the original
classification of Class B for young people under
Secretary David Blunkett moved cannabis to Class
C - making possession a non-arrestable offence
in most cases - to give police more time to
concentrate on tackling hard drugs like heroin
In January this
year, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke said
he would not toughen cannabis penalties despite
fresh fears about its side-effects. He also
signalled a radical overhaul of Britain's system
for classifying illegal drugs.
working on plans for a complete overhaul of the
way drugs are categorised and prohibited, which
dates back to the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.
Federation, which represents 138,000 frontline
officers, has said the reclassification was a
mistake, but the policy has been consistently
backed by chief constables' group, the
Association of Chief Police Officers.
In June this year
the decision to downgrade was criticised by the
head of the United Nations anti-drugs
director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
Antonio Maria Costa, said countries got the
"drug problem they deserved" if they maintained
In an unusual
statement, he suggested cannabis was as harmful
as cocaine and heroin - a stance which differs
wildly from the British attitude of treating
cannabis far less seriously than Class A