Royal College of Psychiatrists to review opposition to decriminalising cannabis

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The Royal College of Psychiatrists is to review its opposition to the legalisation of cannabis.

The organisation has been wary of moves to decriminalise the drug because of concerns of possible negative effects on users’ health.

There is also an association between psychotic illnesses and high-strength varieties of the drug.

But it is now reconsidering its stance due to arguments that legalising cannabis would give the government the power to both regulate its strength and generate tax from its sale.

Over the summer, there was also a wave of pressure on the Government to relax the laws on cannabis to permit its use for medical treatment, particularly the use of cannabis oil to treat epilepsy.

The college is setting up a panel to review current evidence from countries where the drug is already legal.

Dr Adrian James, Royal College of Psychiatrists registrar and panel chairman, told The Daily Telegraph it would start with an “open mind” and review the available research.

He said he remained concerned about the potential risks, but said he recognised the arguments that decriminalisation could prevent users becoming caught up in the criminal justice system.

He said: “As a forensic psychiatrist, the strongest argument is decriminalising behaviour.”

He added: “Our official view is that we are concerned about the health risks and we are against legalisation…on that basis, but there may be arguments that outweigh the psychiatric argument.”

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Source URL: The Independent

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