Conservative police commissioners in the United Kingdom are calling for cannabis to be reclassified from a Class B to Class A drug, BBC News reports. If approved, the change would put cannabis in the same category as heroin and cocaine and mean harsher penalties for possession and potential life sentences in prison for dealers and producers.
The Home Office told the BBC that there are no plans to back the reclassification.
“There are currently no plans to reclassify cannabis, which is controlled as a Class B drug in the UK on the basis of clear medical and scientific evidence of its harms.” — Home Office spokesperson to the BBC
David Sidwick, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, told the BBC that cannabis was “driving harm” in communities.
“We’re seeing it because it’s a gateway drug,” Sidwick said. “If you look at the young people in treatment, the number one drug they are in treatment for is cannabis.”
Peter Reynolds, the President of CLEAR, which opposes cannabis prohibition, called the proposal “completely crazy.”
“The idea of doing more of the same as the past 50 years, which has quite obviously dramatically failed, is ridiculous,” Reynolds told the BBC. “The only people who want this are ignorant politicians and the people who sell illegal drugs, I’m crystal clear about that.”
Under UK drug laws, penalties for possession of a Class A drug include an unlimited fine and up to seven years in prison, while suppliers and producers can be sentenced to life.
Sentences for Class B drugs are up to five years for possession and up to 14 years for supply or production.
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