Home Secretary Suella Braverman hope to make cannabis a Class A drug
The Home Secretary and some Tories are open to the idea of giving cannabis same legal class as heroin, cocaine and pills.
The idea of giving the drug Britain’s highest classification was met with derision by some commentators, with one branding the idea ‘pig-ignorant illiterate anti-scientific illiberal busybody authoritarian b***shit’.
But it is not clear if there are definitive plans to make weed a class A anytime soon – even if influential Tories see it as a ‘gateway drug’.
Upgrading it from a Class B – to put it on a par with substances like heroin and crack cocaine – would mean the maximum prison sentence for possession would rise from five to seven years.
For people supplying and producing weed, jail time would rise from 14 years to a life sentence.
It is understood to be a ‘very big stretch of the imagination’ to suggest the Home Secretary herself wants to change its classification.
But The Times reported that Ms Braverman has told allies she is on the ‘same side’ as a group of Conservative police and crime commissioners (PCCs) calling for the drug to be reclassified.
The commissioners are said to have made the case for re-evaluating penalties based on new health data at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham.
In remarks cited by The Times and the BBC, David Sidwick, the Dorset PCC, was quoted as saying: ‘We’re seeing it because it’s a gateway drug.
‘If you look at the young people in treatment, the number one drug they are in treatment for is cannabis.’
The possible change comes as many countries across the world look to go in the opposite direction on drug laws, with even the USA moving to legalise weed.
President Joe Biden said earlier this week: ‘Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states.
‘That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.’
A Home Office source said that while Ms Braverman is ‘receptive’ to the PCCs’ position, ‘we need to really understand what will be most effective means to improving enforcement’.
But asked about the reports the Home Secretary wants to upgrade the drug to Class A, the source said: ‘That is a very big stretch of the imagination.
‘Her position on this is that effectively cannabis has been legalised by not being policed properly. We need to focus attention on changing that.’
A Home Office spokesperson suggested the classification could be reviewed.
They said: ‘Cannabis is a controlled drug on the basis of clear medical and scientific evidence of its harms.
‘It is currently a Class B drug but its classification is subject to review.’
Opposition figures expressed outrage at the possibility.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: ‘As Biden pardons thousands for cannabis possession, Braverman pushes the UK further behind.
‘The War on Drugs has failed, disproportionately targeting working-class and minority ethnic people.
‘Stop criminalising communities and invest in them instead.’
The journalist Ian Dunt also fumed at the proposal on Twitter, branding it ‘Pig-ignorant illiterate anti-scientific illiberal busybody authoritarian b***shit of the highest order.
‘One of the stupidest possible suggestions from one of the stupidest possible politicians.’
Earlier, Labour shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth, who held the health brief for five years, said his ‘understanding’ of the medical advice was that cannabis should remain a Class B substance.
He told Times Radio: ‘I’m not an expert, I’ve not kept up to date with what their latest research suggests, but that’s always been my understanding.’
Got a story? Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at