Synthetic Cannabinoids: Reclassification — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield 9:30 am, 6th November 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the reclassification of synthetic cannabinoids.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for the first time, Mr Howarth. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise this important issue in a debate. I thank the Backbench Business Committee for allowing me to do so.

I am continuing my campaign for reclassification of synthetic cannabinoids, known as synthetic cannabis, Mamba or Spice. These drugs are becoming a serious national problem. I want to raise the profile of this issue to make people aware of the devastating impact of the drugs in my constituency of Mansfield and across the entire UK. It is time to take proper action on the drugs and get Mamba and Spice off our streets.

Contrary to the assumption of some in Parliament, I do not believe that reclassification is a silver bullet or a quick-fix answer. In my recent correspondence with the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend Steve Brine, who is responsible for public health and primary care, he stated that

“synthetic cannabinoid use is often part of a complex set of health and social issues;
there is no single solution, and short-term approaches can just displace the problem”.

I share that sentiment. We clearly need an holistic approach to deal with these drugs. However, reclassification, although not the only solution, is a step in the right direction to give our police and local services the powers that they need to deal effectively with users and dealers. The current class B classification is limiting the action that local services and the police can take, which is further damaging some of our most deprived areas, where resources are already stretched.