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Cannabis to be reclassified 'B'

PUBLISHED: 00:17 25 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 05 July 2010

REPEAT cannabis offenders are set to face tougher penalties under a new government ruling.

In a move announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on Monday, and welcomed by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, cannabis is set to be reclassified to Class B from January 26, 2009.

REPEAT cannabis offenders are set to face tougher penalties under a new government ruling.

In a move announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on Monday, and welcomed by Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, cannabis is set to be reclassified to Class B from January 26, 2009.

And people caught carrying the drug for a second time could now face an on-the-spot fine of £80 instead of a warning under the new rulings.

The Journal can today reveal that in Waveney there has been a 44pc reduction in the number of total cannabis offences from 2007 to 2008 - including a 46.6pc reduction in Beccles and Bungay, and a 41pc reduction in Lowestoft.

Between April and September 2007, there was a total of 124 cannabis related offences recorded in the Waveney district. This figure has fallen dramatically in the same period this year, with 69 offences reported.

Speaking after the Home Secretary's announcement, Mr Blizzard said: “I totally support the Home Secretary's decision to reclassify cannabis to a Class B drug and to introduce tougher penalties for repeat offenders. Our local police are doing a great job - the crime figures show that the number of people caught with cannabis has fallen considerably over this last year.”

But despite this, Mr Blizzard warned that given 48 people had been caught possessing cannabis in Lowestoft between April and September this “number is far too high,” he said.

“Reclassification and tougher penalties will ensure the police and courts can decide on appropriate punishment that acts as an effective deterrent. This will also hammer home the message to users, especially young people, that cannabis is not only illegal, but also incredibly harmful.”

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