On October 2022, it was reported in the UK media that a number of police commissioners at the Conservative Party Conference had called for the reclassification of cannabis to Class A, so the same as heroin, cocaine and many more because of increased dangers, without substantiating or justifying why. Here's a link to comments made to the PCC for Dorset, as reported by the BBC. Below the link is a copy of the email I sent him, for anyone who is interested. Do consider writing and challenging such attitudes if you disagree with them. More voices are louder voices:

There is also my response to comments made by Home Secretary Suella Braverman below.

My letter to David Sidwick, Police Commissioner for Dorset

Mr Sidwick's response

Home Secretary agrees with PCCs about possible upgrading of cannabis to Class A drug

And on the 9th of October 2022, and in the current political climate this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman was quoted in the Times newspaper saying that she "was considering" upgrading cannabis to Class A" in line with the Police and Crime Commissioners view:

On top of the 'gateway drug' argument which I hope I highlighted above made no sense, allow me to quote the article on other concerns she raised:
"She is also alarmed at evidence linking the drug to a raft of mental and health issues, including psychosis, cancer and birth defects".

Now, I'm not being funny, but before I developed a neurological disorder, I was a mental health nurse for well over a decade, at certain points teaching Substance Misuse. Apart from the fact that I can research with my eyes closed, this was literally my area, and it remains so as I'm now a patient prescribed for both physical and mental health issues. The mental health aspect I also covered in my correspondence with the Dorset PCC (acknowledgement received, awaiting response). I then first looked up cancer and cannabis.

Firstly, a friendly reminder that people all over the world are successfully treating tumours (some in-adjunct with other treatments like radiotherapy, but others like myself, in the past, using cannabis alone). Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid (NOT cannabis but designed to behave similarly apparently) is available on prescription for chemotherapy-related nausea. Cannabis helps me as an anti-emetic (not chemo-induced), but I'm grateful I have the real plant.  

Here is the link to an article from several cannabis experts including the Neurologist, Professor Mike Barnes, explaining their extreme reservations about the latest research linking cancer and cannabis:


On the other hand, here is a quote from Cancer Research UK
"Results have shown that different cannabinoids can:

cause cell death
block cell growth
stop the development of blood vessels – needed for tumours to grow
reduce inflammation
reduce the ability of cancers to spread"

Full text available at:

In the interests of balance, it's important to point out, as they do, that in some instances cannabis can cause cancer cells to grow. But we know this already. That is why it's so important that you know as much as possible about the type of cancer you have (and why prohibition again increases risks), so that it's being treated with cannabinoids that will make it better, not worse. Not in the UK though. Despite that above quote being from the Cancer Research UK website, it remains illegal to treat your cancer here.

Next up, we have birth defects:
This references animal studies. It also makes the wild claim that after self-reported increase in cannabis use in certain areas " it is at least possible that cannabis is responsible for the 43% elevation in total childhood cancer across US 1975–2017".
Although this is from the US, given that until relatively recently, it's been prohibited for most of the quoted years, it seems inexplicable that there could have been such a vast increase, which would surely be necessary, could have occurred unnoticed. "Ar least possible", doesn't sound convincing, does it?

Here's a literature review that was conducted about possible correlations between cannabis use and possible birth defects:

  Again, it describes the reviewed literature as "controversial" and states that warning women of the risks and awareness campaigns would help, which prohibition most definitely isn't compatible with. Alcohol and cigarettes are both bad for you under pretty much all circumstances, but they're not banned. Education and freedom of choice remain in place. We don't know the ill-effects or risks to the degree we could with cannabis, because prohibition stops it being studied and researched.

Another quote from the original article:
A source familiar with Braverman’s thinking said she is strongly opposed to calls to decriminalise cannabis, which she believes sends a “cultural” and “political” signal that using the drug is “acceptable behaviour”.

Given that Joe Biden, President of the United States, saw fit to release those imprisoned for cannabis possession this week, specifically mentioning the disproportionate effect on "black and brown people" that prohibition brought about, I guess threats to upgrade essentially send the cultural message to those people that things are about to get a whole lot worse for you. As for the political signal, that seems a good place to draw this update to a close. Despite historical, anecdotal and international research, our two major parties, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party remain vehemently against cannabis legalization and even decriminalization. Off the former, the revenue would be colossal in terms of taxes. What these parties have had in common during the cannabis debacle of the War on Drugs is there actions being in direct opposition to advice given at the time, usually by their own advisers. What's the point of advisers you don't listen to?

Here's some extracts from the recommendations, as made by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence back in 1968
"The association in legislation of cannabis with heroin and the other opiates is inappropriate and new legislation to deal specially and separately with cannabis and its synthetic derivatives should he introduced as soon as possible (paragraph 81)."

"Possession of a small amount of cannabis should not normally be regarded as a serious crime to be punished by imprisonment (paragraphs 87 and 90)"

"The offence of unlawful possession, sale or supply of cannabis should be punishable on summary conviction with a fine not exceeding œ100, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding four months, or both such fine and imprisonment. On conviction on indictment the penalty should be an unlimited fine, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both such fine and imprisonment (paragraph 86. 88 and 89)."

They also recommended further study of cannabis and yet even now virtually none has been commissioned. Just two years after the report's publication in 1969, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 prohibited cannabis for medical use too.


In 2009, David Nutt was sacked from the Advisory Committee of Misuse of Drugs by then Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson for objecting that drugs should be classified in terms of actual known harm, ranking alcohol much higher than cannabis, ecstasy and LSD:
Again, it was conveyed that he was putting out the wrong public message and it was upgraded from Class C to the higher Class B. So yes, this is definitely about political messaging. If we're struggling in the polls, let's wheel out 'Tough on Law and Order' shall we?

Updated 11th October 2022