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Softer line on E recommended by drugs inquiry

A report due to be published in mid-March by an independent commitee of inquiry is thought to propose that ecstasy be classified as a soft drug rather than a hard drug, according to a report in The Times (14 January 2000).

The commitee was established in 1997 to to determine whether the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was effective, and is chaired by Lady Runciman, a former member of the Government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Committee members include senior police officers.

Ecstasy is currently a Class A drug, which attracts the highest penalties for possession and supply.

The report is also expected to call for a 'depenalisation' of cannabis, with possession of small amounts of the drug being dealt with through fines rather than a prison sentence.