11 July, 2002
The government's announcement that it is to effectively decriminalise cannabis has been cautiously welcomed by disability organisations.
Home Secretary David Blunkett confirmed yesterday that the drug, which is widely believed to alleviate some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and other conditions including Parkinson's and epilepsy, will be reclassified from Class B to Class C in 12 months.
In a parallel move the government said it will back the licensing of cannabis derivatives for medical use by 2003 if current trials prove successful.
The news was welcomed by the Medical Marijuana Co-operative, a group that campaigns for cannabis to be prescribed for medical use.
The MS society issued a statement saying it would wait until the results of the national clinical trials to see if drugs based on derivatives of cannabis were effective and safe in the treatment of the long-term condition.
But they also said: "We have long argued that people should not be criminalised for using a drug which alleviates the often painful symptoms of MS and have asked the police and prosecuting authorities to deal with cases sympathetically."
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Simon Hughes said of the
news: "It is extraordinary that the move has taken so long."
© 2002, Youreable.com