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UK Labour's Cannabis Policy Under Review

UK Labour's woolly-headed approach to cannabis to be reviewed

Progressive MP Matt Robson said today that he isn't at all surprised that the British Labour government is now starting to back-track on its ill-advised decision to soften its anti-cannabis laws one year ago.

"Study after study shows that cannabis is unsafe for some of the most vulnerable people in society – particularly the young.

"No genuinely progressive government would go soft on cannabis while empirical evidence points to a link between cannabis use and mental disorder and it doesn't surprise me in the least that, ahead of the U.K. General Election, the British Labour Party is now having second thoughts about its woolly-headed decisions of one year ago," Matt Robson said.

The Progressive Party in New Zealand opposes changing the current illegal status of cannabis unless or until a broad consensus emerges in the scientific community that cannabis is safe.

"The difference between Britain's centre-left government and our centre-left government is that in New Zealand the Progressive Party is staunchly anti-drugs because drugs like alcohol and cannabis cause the most distress to the most vulnerable members of our society," Matt Robson said.

"The U.K. downgrading of cannabis a year ago sent out the completely wrong message to young people about the dangers of drug use. Hopefully what we are seeing in the U.K. isn't just a pre-election stunt, but a genuine and honest attempt to correct an error in policy," Matt Robson said.

It is reported today that the British government has asked for an independent assessment of its decision last year to ease the rules on cannabis use after studies showed the drug's use may be linked to mental health problems. Home Secretary Charles Clarke has written to the U.K. Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs asking it review his government's earlier decision to downgrade the classification of the drug. Clarke reportedly mentioned a Maastricht University study which concluded that cannabis use increases the risk of psychotic symptoms in young people.

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