Professor David Nutt has said that it was an “absurd idea” to “cure prisoners” by testing for their use of cannabis, and it has led to the Spice epidemic.
Conservative MP Ben Bradley has called for the drug Spice to be classified as Class A, rather than B, because of how “accessible” the drug is.
Professor Nutt, a former government chief drug adviser told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “We are going to be stuck with [drug classification] for a while but what we have to do is get drugs in the right level.
“I don’t have a big problem with synthetics being Class A, but what I do have a problem with is cannabis being illegal.
“Countries where you have legal cannabis, people don’t use spice.
“No one wants to use Spice because it is so horrible and dangerous, but they use it because it is a way of avoid conviction.
“Prisoners use Spice because if they are caught with cannabis they lose their chance of getting out.
“It is an absurd idea to cure prisoners of their drug use by testing them for cannabis that led to the spice epidemic in the first place.”
Drug classification 'makes the situation worse'
Conservative MP Ben Bradley, who is calling for tougher punishments for users of Spice. Image: UK Parliament.
Mr Bradley argued that there should be stronger punishments for those that use Spice, but Professor Nutt argued that changing the classification does not “solve the problem”.
“The problem with the classification system is that people think that changing the classification solves the problem – it does not,” he said.
“It often makes the situation worse and the reason we have spice is because we have been obsessed with people using herbal cannabis.
“We have tried to eliminate that and people have switched to more potent stuff.”
He added: “I think the fact that we have had 70 deaths in the last year in prisons, just proves how dangerous spice is.”
“Cannabis does increase blood pressure and heart rate so if you have got cardiac vulnerability then something that increases your heart rate could be dangerous.
“The same as running up a hill, so maybe cannabis does occasionally kill someone but it is way safer than these other synthetics.”