To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the overall benefit to the community of reclassifying cannabis as a class B drug; on what evidence their judgment was based; to what extent that evidence indicated that reclassification will positively affect late-night behaviour in public and early-hours crime; whether the police were consulted; and whether the police were given additional resources to implement the change.[HL6183]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what comparative assessment they have made of the relative effects on communities of 24-hour alcohol licensing and cannabis remaining a class C drug. [HL6184]
The likely effects of the reclassification of cannabis to a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, alongside the associated enforcement response, were evaluated in the regulatory impact assessment (IA) produced to accompany the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008.
The IA focused on potential additional liabilities for the police and the criminal justice system (CJS). It also identified potential benefits of the policy change in terms of the change in the estimated population of serious cannabis users, reflecting the gradual desistance through contact with the CJS and consistent with current trends as measured by the British Crime Survey. It did not specifically address the overall benefit to the community of reclassifying cannabis as a class B drug. The full IA can be found at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/em/uksiem_20083130_en.pdf.
The Home Office has consulted and worked closely with the police to implement the changes to the enforcement approach to cannabis possession by adults as well as actions to tackle commercial cultivation. It has provided funding for a series of measures to support this work.
The Home Office conducted an assessment of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on levels of crime and disorder. A report, The Impact of the Licensing Act 2003 on Levels of Crime and Disorder: An Evaluation (2008), by Hough et al was published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year. The main conclusion to be drawn from the evaluation is that licensing regimes may be one factor in effecting change to the country’s drinking culture and its impact on crime.
The Government have made no formal comparative assessment of the relative effects on communities of 24-hour alcohol licensing and cannabis remaining a class C drug and there has been no specific or formal assessment of how cannabis reclassification will impact on late-night behaviour in public and early-hours crime.