Mental health charity Rethink has sent an open letter to Gordon Brown today, which calls on him to base his decision on cannabis classification solely on the evidence. Cannabis use has dropped since it was made a Class C Drug; this is due to greater awareness of mental health risks. Do not waste funds on reclassifying: invest these funds into health education. This is what works.
The Rt Hon Gordon Brown
10 Downing Street
LONDON SW1A 2AA
2nd April 2008
Dear Prime Minister
I am writing regarding the current debate on cannabis and its legal classification. Rethink is the largest voluntary sector provider of mental health services and a membership organisation. Many of our members have had experience of cannabis and we are pleased that its devastating effects on mental health are now better recognised.
However, reclassifying cannabis to class B would be a waste of resources. Our own research shows that only 3% of cannabis users quit for legal reasons. Information on health effects, both mental and physical, is far more likely to make people stop using cannabis and this is where scarce resources should be directed.
We urge you to consider the evidence on cannabis. Fewer young people are using the drug now than when it was at class B. This is because Government campaigns and the media have sent a strong signal that the drug is dangerous.
Reclassifying will cost millions in rewriting policy and retraining the police. Only by investing these funds in health education will we send a real signal to young and vulnerable people that using cannabis is dangerous.
Director of Public Affairs
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