21 January 2009

PNDs for Cannabis on Hold

Cannabis back to Class B but PNDs will have to follow later

Hot on the heels of the last post, lamenting the Government's failure to consult properly on the introduction of PNDs, there has been a change of heart at the Ministry of Justice and there will now be a period of consultation.

However, this is not a cause for jubilation. Nor does it appear to be directly related to cannabis. Instead it seems to be a result of Magistrates raising objections to the PNDs on the grounds that many of the offences were considered by Magistrates too serious to be handled with PNDs. Their focus (according to the Daily Mail) was the addition of unlicensed cabs to the list of offences which could receive a PND.

As a result, the Ministry of Justice has now said "the government has listened to concerns about certain aspects of extending the penalty-notice-for-disorder-scheme and has decided to consult more widely on the new offences to be included."

So last week, according to the Ministry of Justice, a consultation had taken place, (albeit of a limited nature) and there was no scope for wider consultation, and a week later, a wider consultation is required.

Now, hopefully, this will be a proper, open, public consultation. Then again, who knows what will happen next week.


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