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Drugs: Cannabis

Volume 708: debated on Monday 2 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the order giving police the power to issue penalty notices for possession of cannabis was not brought forward in time to coincide with the recent upgrading of cannabis to a class B drug. [HL1176]

As the department responsible for cannabis reclassification and the associated policing response the Home Office will respond to this Question. The legislation on introducing penalty notices for disorder (PND) is owned by the Ministry of Justice.

An order adding 21 new offences to the penalty notice for disorder (PND) scheme under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 was laid before Parliament by the Ministry of Justice on 15 December 2008. This order included adding the offence of possession of cannabis to the scheme. In view of concerns raised over certain aspects of other offences, such as taxi touting, this order was withdrawn on 19 January 2009.

On 20 January 2009 the Government laid a further order that proceeded with adding cannabis possession to the PND scheme. In view of the parliamentary timetable, the earliest possible date that the offence could come into force was 28 January 2009.