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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Cannabis: The UK's story
The UK government has announced it wants the laws covering cannabis to be eased so possession will no longer be an arrestable offence. BBC News Online looks at some of the issues involved.


Keith Hellawell resigned over the reclassification of cannabis
10 July 2002

Keith Hellawell resigned his post as a government adviser on drugs policy over the decision to reclassify cannabis. The home office insisted he had agreed with the proposals when they were first floated.

 The BBC's Daniel Sandford reports


UK Home Secretary David Blunkett
24 October 2001

UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said moves to liberalise the laws on cannabis do not signal any intention to decriminalise the drug. He denied that he had deliberately buried his announcement under the IRA's decommissioning statement.

 Home Secretary, David Blunkett


Scales of Justice, Old Bailey
23 October 2001

Home Secretary David Blunkett said he wanted to change the law so that it "made more sense" to people on the street, but cannabis possession and supply would remain a criminal offence, attracting maximum sentences of five years for supply and two years for possession.

 The BBC's Margaret Gilmore reports


Colin Davies tried to open a Dutch-style cafe
16 September 2001

A campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis, who was arrested after attempting to open the UK's first Amsterdam-style marijuana cafe in Greater Manchester, was released without charge.

 The BBC's Jon Brain reports


Amsterdam coffee shop
The Dutch example

Many of those who have campaigned for a relaxation of Britain's drugs laws look to Holland as an example of how decriminalisation works, but others see it as a drug-ridden society which encourages serious addiction and all its related social ills.

 The BBC's Robert Nisbett reports from Amsterdam


Laboratory tests on cannabis
2 September 2001

The use of cannabis for medical purposes will be given government backing under David Blunkett's plans - it follows results from the UK's first clinical trial of cannabis as a medicine show big benefits to those suffering chronic pain.

 Consultant anaesthetist Dr William Notcutt


Anne Widdecombe wanted a hard-line approach to cannabis
17 November 2001

Then Shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe told the Conservative party conference she wanted a "zero tolerance" policy towards cannabis, but within a month was forced to re-think her tough policy after media criticism and embarrassing revelations from some Tory MPs that they had previously smoked the drug.

 The BBC's Nick Robinson



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