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Mixed messages around reclassification of cannabis causing confusion- Ramsey MLA

20 May, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey has said that the reclassification of cannabis as a class B drug is causing confusion rather than leading to a reduction in use.

Ms Ramsey said,

"The mixed messages coming out about the classification of cannabis is causing confusion rather than addressing the core issue of misuse of the drug. Many people think that cannabis is legal as long as it is for personal use but the fact is that it is illegal and with the reclassification now holds severe penalties for possession and use.

"Cannabis is the first drug of choice especially amongst young people and rather than focusing on the classification we should be tackling the use of the drug in our society.

"Cannabis use is usually the first step by many who go on to harder more harmful drugs such as cocaine and heroin and has been proven to cause mental health problems amongst people who use it regularly.

"Cannabis use has also been linked to exacerbating the effects of depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, bronchitis, and emphysema.

"We need to focus on community responses to the uses of cannabis and ensure that there is education at all levels from early years right through to adult so that cannabis use is reduced. We also need to resource funding to local communities to combat the threat of long term drug abuse and everything that leads from that."

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