The imperial college of London professor described the government as Luddite and accused them of distorting the figures of cannabis and it's effects on people. Particularly picking up on the fact that Skunk (which has been the root of most figures claiming cannabis use leads to long term brain damage) and Cannabis are two completely different drugs- noting that the government uses figures of skunk when hitting home the dangers of cannabis.
Jacqui Smith, our home secretary asked professor Nutt to resign from his post for what seems to be the professor encroaching on the area of the government.
Nutt however stuck behind his claims, quoting the science behind his statement.
His paper stated that:
Alcohol ranks at the fifth most dangerous drug after heroin, cocaine barbiturates and methadone. Cannabis, LSD and ecstacy, while dangerous are ranked lower at 11, 14 and 18 respectively.
In 2004 cannabis was downgraded to a class C drug but has since been upgraded back to a class B. Smith stood behind her "precautionary principle" claiming that keeping cannabis as a class C drug would lead it to being dismissed as being unharmful.
This act sparked controversy among many people particularly since many surveys showed a decline in usage of cannabis after it's demotion to a class C drug. It led to prof. Nutt claiming the difference between a class C and class B drug is simply 5 years in prison.
From what I can make, of this whole thing, I would have to agree with this statement by the old prof. After all, if the government are ignoring or, sweeping the science under the carpet, then it appears that more harmful drugs (alcohol, cigarettes) are frowned upon less than those drugs which are branded as less harmful (cannabis) by the scientists themselves. It just feels like we are in a nanny state, where we simply don't know the actual truth behind the dangers of substances. As a spectator, I don't know the full ins and outs of the situation, but it seems as though the government made this move because Nutt stepped into their territory. Not because what he said was untrue but because he actually said what he did and the message it gives out to people. And rather than claiming that he is justifying the use of cannabis, which I haven't noted once, in fact just now on the telly I saw him vehemently discourage the use of any drugs, why don't the government turn this whole debacle on its head and focus more on the fact that drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are very harmful and something should be done to quell or moderate the amount of people whose lives are damaged by excessive use of these legitimised substances.
40% of people have, at some time, used cannabis.
Science media, and in fact many people within the science community feel that the government are simply ignoring scientists by dismissing Professor Nutt.
Contrastingly, many people, particularly parents, however feel that scientists aren't focusing on the damage these drugs cause on people on a more social level and that the drugs affect more than just the individuals using them, but their families and friends too.
In fact, Debra Bell- a parent... :\ ... claims that it is important that he got fired. She along with many other parents sent in petitions asking for him to be suspended after he wrote his paper claiming the tone of his message and that which people would gather from reading it would lead to more use of substances such as cannabis or LSD.
Regardless of the implications of his paper, as it stands, Nutt has discouraged the use of all harmful substances, simply claiming that the bands which the government use to tier drugs is unbalanced and it should be reformed to better reflect the nature of individual drugs and the risk they impose on one's health.
Because I know a lot of you don't watch the news.
More can be found on the guardian website or BBC News 24, channel 503 on Sky, Virgin Media channel 601 and on also on Freeview.
Hate mail can be sent to Jacqui at the following address though we'll probably all be under conservative government by the time it reaches her:
The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA
Or by email, though she's probably too busy trying to eat children to actually check her inbox:
And I don't even do weed...