I found this as a draft but in the light of the previous post it seems apposite.
The sacking of Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is yet another demonstration, if one were needed, that the major parties in the UK (and many of the minor ones) see the politicians' role as one of control.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is an independent expert body that advises government on drug related issues in the UK. It was established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. That Act works on the principle that drugs are classified by risk with Category A being the highest and Category C the lowest.
Back in 2007, the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to "review the classification of cannabis in the light of real public concern about the potential mental health effects of cannabis use and, in particular, the use of stronger strains of the drug."
They concluded that "after a most careful scrutiny of the totality of the available evidence, the majority of the Council’s members consider – based on its harmfulness to individuals and society – that cannabis should remain a Class C substance. It is judged that the harmfulness of cannabis more closely equates
with other Class C substances than with those currently classified as Class B.
In providing this advice, however, the Council wishes to emphasise that the use of cannabis is a significant public health issue. Cannabis can unquestionably cause harm to individuals and society. The Council therefore advises that strategies designed to minimise its use and adverse effects must be predominantly public health ones. Criminal justice measures – irrespective of classification – will have only a limited effect on usage."
Despite that evidence, the Government decided to reclassify Cannabis from Category C to Category B, in effect, because the PM had already made his mind up. He wasn't really looking for a review, he wanted a post hoc justification of his decision.
Of course this begs the question of whether this is an appropriate area for government to intervene in the first place...