Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse


January 20, 2006: Cannabis Remains A Class 'C' Drug

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has decided not to reverse the decision taken two years ago to downgrade cannabis to a class C drug.

In March 2005 the Home Secretary asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to examine new evidence on the harmfulness of cannabis, and to consider whether this changed their assessment of cannabis as a class C drug.

In a statement to parliament yesterday the Home Secretary highlighted two conclusions from the ACMD Report:

"The first is that cannabis is harmful and that its use can lead to a wide range of physical and psychological harms and hazards; that the mental health effects of cannabis are real and significant; that cannabis is potentially harmful with short-term risks to physical health; that a substantial research programme into the relationship between cannabis and mental health should be instituted; that the Government ought to seek to reduce the use of cannabis and that the cultivation, supply and possession of cannabis should remain illegal."

"The second is that the level of classification is only one amongst the issues to be addressed and that priority needs to be given to proper enforcement of the law, to education and to campaigning against the use of cannabis."

Mr Clarke stated:

"I have decided to accept the Advisory Council’s recommendation, which is supported by the police and by most drugs and mental health charities, to keep the current classification of cannabis."

"I have considered very carefully the advice which I have received. I am influenced by evidence that cannabis use has fallen among 16-24 year olds from 28% in 1998 to less than 24% last year. The preliminary assessment is that reclassification has not led to an increase in use. I accept the view of the Advisory Council that further research on the mental health implications is needed before any decision to reclassify is made."