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U-TURN ON CANNABIS CAUTIONS; EXCLUSIVE No let-offs by police to beat drug use rise.

Byline: By DEAN ROUSEWELL

CANNABIS users are to be hit in a new Government crackdown on ALL illegal drugs, The People can reveal.

A police let-off will no longer be an option under new hard-line proposals being discussed by ministers and senior police.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who admitted smoking cannabis at university, is considering a U-turn to combat a rise in drug abuse, particularly among the young.

New figures showed that police cautions for cannabis possession have more than doubled since it was downgraded from a Class B to a Class C substance in 2004.

Scientists now say the drug causes more long-term physical and mental damage than previously thought.

Smokers caught with even the smallest amount will no longer get away with a let-off.

A Whitehall aide said: "The tide seems to be turning against cannabis and the softly, softly approach to its possession."

The pressure group Talking About Cannabis has told ministers: "Going back to the original classification will send out a clear message that smoking cannabis in child and teenage years is highly dangerous."

dean.rousewell@people.co.uk

Voice of The People: Page 6

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2007
Words:194
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