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Was drugs scientist right to speak out?

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drugsThe government’s attitude towards science is under the microscope this week over accusations that expert advice is being ignored if it fails to fit prevailing political agendas.

The row has been prompted by the sacking of the government’s chief drug adviser, Professor David Nutt, who has been making statements that do not fit in with the government’s hard line on drugs. Two of his colleagues resigned in protest over the weekend and more may follow.

Nutt has criticsed the Home Office decision to upgrade cannabis to a Class B drug, saying it is less harmful than alcohol and nicotine. He has previously said taking ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding and that consideration should be given to downgrading the classification of both ecstasy and LSD.

Liberal Democrat science spokesman Dr Evan Harris says: ”I fear there will be many more resignations unless the government acts to restore confidence among its independent scientific advisers.”

Should cannabis be back in Class B?

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cannabis1.jpgThe government has decided to tighten the law on cannabis, reinstating it to a Class B drug, because of fears over the high-strength skunk variety now prevalent on the streets.

Cannabis was downgraded to Class C — which includes substances such as anabolic steroids — in 2004. That meant possession of the drug was treated largely as a non-arrestable offence. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended it should stay as Class C.

Thursday’s headlines: Brown “plots fightback”

The Times says Gordon Brown is facing the first electoral test of his premiership. It also features London mayoral candidates Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. Story here

The Daily Mail leads with how motorists are being fleeced by speed cameras or traffic wardens to the annual sum of £800m. Story here

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