Opinion Former Article

Rethink: Prepare for cannabis classification announcement

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is soon to make its recommendation to government on whether to reclassify cannabis as a class B drug. Cannabis was downgraded to class C in 2004.

How Rethink can help:

We have a range of spokespeople and case studies available for comment and are widely considered to be experts on the link between cannabis use and mental illness. Many of our members - including people with mental health problems and their carers -shared their experiences with us and we gave our evidence to the ACMD to help with the review process.

Our case studies include:

· a mother who attributes her son's mental health problems to his cannabis use

· a father who says his son's schizophrenia is due to cannabis

· a sister who is in no doubt that her brother's mental illness is exacerbated by cannabis

What Rethink thinks:

· cannabis should not be reclassified

· the government should focus its resources on a major public health campaign warning of the mental health risks

· mental health warnings should be printed on rolling paper packets

Key facts:

· cannabis use has dropped since it became a class C drug

· only 3% of people said they would stop smoking cannabis because of illegality (www.rethink.org/cannabiscampaign)

· young people who use cannabis under the age of 18 double their chances of developing a severe mental illness

· 60% of people say that knowing about the adverse risks to their mental health would make them consider giving up cannabis

For comment or case studies please contact 020 7330 9129

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