UK to Get Tough on Pot

Brown will reclassify marijuana, stiffen penalties just 3 years after Blair relaxed them
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 9:14 AM CDT
Gordon Brown with George W. Bush at the NATO conference in Bucharest. Brown is personally fighting to tighten cannabis possession laws in the UK.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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(Newser) – The British government is set to tighten the law on marijuana, reclassifying it as a more dangerous drug and imposing a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for possession. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is determined to designate pot as a class B drug, only three years after Tony Blair downgraded it to class C. 

Brown's plan goes against the recommendation of Parliament's advisory council on drugs, which supports keeping marijuana as a class C drug, reports the Independent. In 2004, the Blair government relaxed pot laws to allow police to concentrate on the fight against harder drugs. Since then possession of marijuana, while still a crime, has led to confiscation and a warning rather than a criminal prosecution.