Originally published in The Christian Institute
The UK Government has dismissed calls for cannabis to be made legal for medical reasons.
A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drug Policy Reform claims that there is evidence in favour of using cannabis in the treatment of certain conditions.
However, the Government argues that there is a “substantial body of scientific and medical evidence to show that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health”.
The APPG calls for the drug to be categorised differently, to allow doctors to prescribe it to patients and chemists to dispense it.
A spokesman for the Home Office responded: “It is important that medicines are thoroughly trialled to ensure they meet rigorous standards before being placed on the market.
“There is a clear regime in place, administered by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, to enable medicines, including those containing controlled drugs, to be developed.”
Preventing drug use
In 2014, ministers rejected a similar call for decriminalisation by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker.
A spokesman for the Home Office at that time said: “Our cross-government strategy remains clear. We must prevent drug use in our communities, support users through treatment and recovery, and tackle the organised criminals behind the drugs trade”.
In 2008 the House of Commons voted to upgrade cannabis to a Class B drug, having previously downgraded it to Class C five years earlier.
In the run up to the vote, The Christian Institute argued for a higher classification of cannabis because it increases the risk of mental and physical health problems and can act as a gateway drug to harder illicit drugs.