UK: 'No Split Over Cannabis' Say Tories

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Mar 27, 2005
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UK: 'No Split Over Cannabis' Say Tories

THE Tories' policy chief today denied the Party was split over the issue of re-classifying cannabis.

David Cameron, who originally backed calls for the drug to be downgraded from Class B to C, admitted the issue was "slightly awkward" for him.

He said there had been disagreements in the past but the Conservatives stood firm on reversing current Government policy.

Cannabis was downgraded to Class C last year, placing it alongside anabolic steroids and prescription antibiotics.

"The Conservative Party's had a very clear view for a long time about cannabis, which is that it shouldn't be reclassified from B to C," he told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby Programme.

"This is slightly awkward for me. I'd sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee that suggested this should be, so this is an area where I've had in the past some disagreements.

"I was on the Select Committee that looked at this issue and we thought on the basis of the science that that ( re-classification ) was right.

"On the Select Committee we looked at a range of evidence.

"I'm now in the Shadow Cabinet. I accept the collective position."


Mr Cameron, who is head of policy co-ordination, insisted the Tories could not be accused of inconsistency.

"The Conservative Party consistently argued that it was wrong to re-classify from B to C. The Government has now apparently changed its mind.

"I think there is a case for saying cannabis should have been re-classified, there's a case for saying it shouldn't have been re-classified.

"What there isn't a case for doing is what the Government's doing, which is actually flip-flopping all the time and changing its mind.

"That sends the worst possible signal, and I think the one thing you cannot accuse the Conservative Party of is inconsistency on this issue."

In 2002, Mr Cameron said he hoped the Home Affairs Select Committee report which he backed would "encourage fresh thinking and a new approach" on the issue.

He added: "We need to get away from entrenched positions and try to reduce the harm that drugs do both to users and society at large."

Manchester Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2005 Manchester Evening News
Contact: [email protected]

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