The United Kingdom prime minister’s office is distancing itself from a proposal from Conservatives that would reclassify cannabis from a Class B to Class A drug in the country, with a Downing Street spokesperson telling The Guardian that there are “no plans” to make the change.
The plan was pitched last week by Conservative police commissioners in the U.K. It would have put cannabis in the same category as heroin and cocaine and meant harsher penalties for possession and potential life sentences in prison for dealers and producers. The proposal was also reportedly backed by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
A Home Office spokesperson last week said there were no current plans to reclassify cannabis.
“Our priority is on cracking down on illegal drugs and the crime they drive. We’ve launched a drug strategy backed by record investment to deliver a whole-system approach to tackling supply and demand.” — Prime Minister Liz Truss spokesperson to The Guardian
In a Sunday Times article published October 9, a source close to Braverman said she is strongly opposed to cannabis decriminalization. The source said Braverman believes cannabis is a “gateway drug” and decriminalization would send a “cultural” and “political” sign that using cannabis was “acceptable behavior.”
Peter Reynolds, the president of CLEAR, which opposes cannabis prohibition, called the proposal “completely crazy” following the calls from the police commissioners.
“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.
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe