Chapter

‘I have decided to reclassify cannabis, subject to Parliamentary approval’: Legislators, Law‐Enforcers, Campaigns, and Classification, 1997–2008

James H. Mills

in Cannabis Nation

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199283422
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746161 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283422.003.0008
‘I have decided to reclassify cannabis, subject to Parliamentary approval’: Legislators, Law‐Enforcers, Campaigns, and Classification, 1997–2008

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This chapter considers the decade or so before 2008 in order to explain some of the features of a period that was one of remarkable activity. By the late 1990s there were more consumers than ever before in the UK, and greater numbers of them finding themselves in trouble with the police. In the years immediately after New Labour came to power in 1997 many of these consumers again found their voice. Newspapers and political parties took up their cause and a expert bodies rushed to offer opinions. In 2001 the Home Secretary broke with the policy of his predecessors and reclassified the drug and his successors quickly back-peddled and reversed his decision. The chapter explores these events and argues that they are best understood in the wider context of the history of the period, as the nature of the New Labour administration and the agendas of the police served to frustrate those that sought change to ‘the British compromise’.

Keywords: New Labour; Home Secretary; experts; consumers; police powers; medicine; media

Chapter.  13030 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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