The Classification of Cannabis Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

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ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE MISUSE OF DRUGS The classification of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE MISUSE OF DRUGS 1. Background 1.1 In October 2001 the Home Secretary asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (the ‘Council’) to review the classification of cannabis preparations in the light of current scientific evidence. The Council is established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to keep under review the drug situation in the United Kingdom and to advise government ministers on the measures to be taken for preventing the misuse of drugs or for dealing with the social problems connected with their misuse. In particular, the Council is required to advise on the appropriate…show more content…
The Report itself is based on a detailed scrutiny of the relevant scientific literature including four reviews commissioned by the Department of Health in 19981 as well as an update commissioned by the Home Office and completed in November 2001.2 2.2 2.3 2.4 1 Ashton (1998), Johns (1998), and Plant (1998a, 1998b) – see bibliography. 2 Nutt and Nash (2001) – see bibliography. 3 ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE MISUSE OF DRUGS 3. Epidemiology 3.1 Information about the use of cannabis in the UK comes from a variety of sources. None are ideal but, collectively, they provide a reasonable indication of the present scale of use and of the changes that have occurred over the past 20 years. The available sources of information come from: • • • • 3.2 surveys of self-reported use; seizures (by police and customs officers); cautions and court appearances data; and National Drug Misuse databases. Cannabis use appears to have increased dramatically over the past two decades. British Crime Survey (BCS) data show that, in England and Wales, lifetime use between 1981 and 2000 amongst those aged 20 to 24 years rose from 12 per cent to 52 per cent. In the same age group, the 2000 BCS suggested that use in the previous year was 27 per cent, and in the previous month was 18 per cent. By comparison, use of amphetamine or heroin in the past month was 3 per cent and less than 0.5
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