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Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Cannabis: the UK's story
Image of a man smoking cannabis
The UK government has announced it wants the laws covering cannabis to be eased so possession will no longer be an arrestable offence. BBC News Online looks at some of the issues involved.

24 October 2001

UK Home Secretary David Blunkett
UK Home Secretary David Blunkett
UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said moves to liberalise the laws on cannabis do not signal any intention to decriminalise the drug. He denied that he had deliberately buried his announcement under the IRA's decommissioning statement.

 Home Secretary, David Blunkett

23 October 2001

Scales of Justice, Old Bailey
Relaxing the law
Home Secretary David Blunkett said he wanted to change the law so that it "made more sense" to people on the street, but cannabis possession and supply would remain a criminal offence, attracting maximum sentences of five years for supply and two years for possession.

 The BBC's Margaret Gilmore reports.

16 September 2001

Colin Davies tried to open a Dutch-style cafe
Colin Davies tried to open a Dutch-style cafe
A campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis, who was arrested after attempting to open the UK's first Amsterdam-style marijuana cafe in Greater Manchester, was released without charge.

 The BBC's John Brain reports.

The Dutch example

Amsterdam coffee shop
Amsterdam coffee shop
Many of those who have campaigned for a relaxation of Britain's drugs laws look to Holland as an example of how decriminalisation works, but others see it as a drug-ridden society which encourages serious addiction and all its related social ills.

 The BBC's Robert Nisbett reports from Amsterdam.

2 September 2001

Laboratory tests on cannabis
Laboratory tests on cannabis
The use of cannabis for medical purposes will be given government backing under David Blunkett's plans - it follows results from the UK's first clinical trial of cannabis as a medicine show big benefits to those suffering chronic pain.

 Consultant anaesthetist Dr William Notcutt

17 November 2000

Anne Widdecombe wanted a hard-line approach to cannabis
Anne Widdecombe wanted a hard-line approach to cannabis
Then Shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe told the Conservative party conference she wanted a "zero tolerance" policy towards cannabis, but within a month was forced to re-think her tough policy after media criticism and embarassing revelations from some Tory MPs that they had previously smoked the drug.

 The BBC's Nick Robinson reports.

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