Police commissioners want to reclassify cannabis as a Class A drug, potentially creating stiffer penalties for those who possess and supply it.
Cannabis is currently a Class B drug, meaning those who possess and supply it face lesser penalties than those caught with Class A substances like heroin and cocaine.
The calls for change were made at the Conservative Party Conference taking place today (October 3), which is currently taking place in Birmingham.
It is argued that the drug’s current classification is not appropriate given new data that suggests it is more harmful than previously thought.
However, the Home Secretary stressed that the appeals are only proposals, and at the moment there is no indication that the classification of the drug will change.
David Sidwick, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said cannabis “hurts” because it is a “gateway drug”.
“If you look at young people in treatment, the number one drug they’re in treatment for is cannabis,” he said.
The commissioner argued that if cannabis is reclassified, it will allow police to deal more effectively with those prosecuted for its abuse.
“There are so many drug crimes that actually by addressing this, giving us this clarity, it’s clearer for our police to be able to do what they need to do,” he said. .
Those caught in possession of Class A drugs can face up to seven years behind bars and an unlimited fine.
The penalty is even harsher for those who produce and supply the substances, and they can potentially be imprisoned for life.
Penalties for class B drugs, which also include speed and ketamine, are relatively less severe.
People caught in possession of Class B drugs face up to five years in prison for possession and 14 years behind bars if they supply or produce the drug.
The conservative proposal has been criticized by cannabis advocates.
Peter Reynolds, the president of CLEAR, called the proposal “completely crazy” amid the organization’s work to legalize drugs.
A spokesperson for the head office said: “There are currently no plans to reclassify cannabis, which is controlled as a Class B drug in the UK based on clear medical and scientific evidence of its harms. “
LADbible has reached out to the Conservative Party for comment.