Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

January 26, 2009: Cannabis: Now Class B Drug

Cannabis is now a Class B drug. The government announced its plans to reclassify the drug in 2008. The government reclassified cannabis from Class C to Class B as part of the drug strategy: Drugs: protecting families and communities.

The Home Office state that concerns about effects of 'skunk' and the mental health of users lead to the change. The police can now take legal action against anyone caught in possession of cannabis, as it has been reclassified from Class C to Class B.

First-time offenders caught with the drug will likely be given a warning. Subsequent offences will result in on-the-spot fines of £80. Anyone with three or more offences on their record will face arrest if found with cannabis.

A resulting conviction of possession could result in a maximum of five years in prison and a fine. Anyone caught selling cannabis could face 14 years in prison. Selling the drug near schools, mental health facilities or prisons will result in stiffer penalties.

The classification of cannabis means:

  • the government will robustly enforce laws on cannabis supply and possession
  • police and other agencies will work to shut down cannabis farms and arrest the organised criminals who run them
  • the consideration of additional aggravating sentencing factors for those caught supplying cannabis near schools

A young person found to be in possession of cannabis will be arrested and taken to a police station where they can receive a reprimand, final warning or charge depending on the seriousness of the offence. Following one reprimand, any further offence will lead to a final warning or charge. Any further offence following a warning will normally result in criminal charges. After a final warning, the young offender must be referred to a Youth Offending Team to arrange a rehabilitation programme.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith  told MPs in May 2008 that her decision to change the classification of the drug reflected the fact that skunk – a much stronger type of cannabis – now accounts for more than 80% of the UK market. It's share rose from just 30% five years ago. At the time she commented:

'There is a compelling case for us to act now rather than risk the future health of young people ... I am not prepared to "wait and see".