Former MP has rethink on cannabis law move

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 23 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 17:00

Latest News

Buy photos » Jacqui Smith has admitted the reclassification of cannabis to a class B drug may not have been the right move. (s)

FORMER Redditch MP Jacqui Smith has admitted it may not have been the right decision to toughen cannabis laws.

Ms Smith was Home Secretary at the time the drug was reclassified as a class B substance, having previously been downgraded to a class C. The change meant users could be jailed for up to five years and dealers for 14.

But speaking ahead of a programme called Stoned Again to be broadcast on Thursday (November 29) at 10pm on Radio 5 Live, she expressed second thoughts about whether the decision by the Labour Government in 2008 was the right way forward.

"I don't believe in decriminalisation or legalisation. But knowing what I know now, I would resist the temptation to resort to the law to tackle the harm from cannabis. Education, treatment and information, if we can get the message through, are perhaps a lot more effective," she told the Radio Times.

But Ms Smith, who lost her Parliamentary seat at the 2010 General Election, insisted it was not the wrong thing to do at the time, despite being against the advice of experts.

"If I was in the same position, in the same circumstances, facing the same pressures, I would take the same decision," she said.

"I'm more sympathetic now to the argument that there are people who use cannabis without harm. I don't want tough messages being sent out by the law always translated into tough action against individuals."

She added the police had been 'interestingly discreet' about applying the law, but argued against the need for the use of cannabis to be legalised.

"Legislation is a blind alley that sidetracks everybody into discussing the law rather than the impact of the drugs themselves and how to deal with them."

The full interview appears in the current issue of the Radio Times (www.radiotimes.com) on sale now.

Latest News

Buy photos»

Popular »

1 Familys case is highlighted by MP

2 Outstanding school

3 Nine years for killing baby Isabella

4 Moving service remembers victims of Pakistan school massacre

5 Supported living flats welcomed

More news »

Father still missing after nearly two weeks

A REDDITCH father is still missing after nearly

Rescue after floods continue

RESIDENTS had to be rescued from their homes

Lights stolen in planned theft

MORE than £30,000 worth of lighting equipment was

London Midland will be punished if it breaches contract

THE GOVERNMENT will take action against London Midland

Regional news »


Bromsgrove Standard
Government ruling means developers can by-pass Bromsgrove planners

DEVELOPERS wanting to build in Bromsgrove will be able to ...

Worcester Observer

Visit the Worcester Observer website for the latest.

Stratford Observer
Anger at proposals for homes on Wellesbourne Airfield

ANGER is growing against proposals to build 1,500 homes on ...

Evesham Observer
Connect to new business network

A NEW way for Evesham businesses to get connected has ...