LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it had no intention of legalizing cannabis after a former leader of Prime Minister Theresa May’s party said the government had “irreversibly lost” the battle to drive the drug off the streets.
William Hague, leader of the Conservative Party from 1997 to 2001, urged the government to consider legalizing cannabis to realize what he said would be economic and social benefits from pushing crime gangs out of the trade.
The drug falls into the Class B category in Britain, below the status of crack cocaine and heroine but on a par with amphetamines and barbiturates, with those found in possession facing up to five years in jail.
A spokesman for the prime minister denied that the government had lost the war on drugs and the government department responsible for crime and policing said it had no intention of reviewing the law.
“The harmful effects of cannabis are well known and there are no plans to legalize it,” May’s spokesman said.