THE relaxation of cannabis laws has been given a guarded welcome by Ellesmere Port-based Parents Against Drug Abuse (PADA).
Manager Lynn Clare said: 'If the change goes ahead, those with a minor offence relating to cannabis will not be blighted by having a police record, which can be extremely serious for a 16 or 17 year old when it comes to looking for a job.
'But what concerns me is that it's sending a message that cannabis is safe but we know that it takes away motivation and makes people behave in a way they wouldn't otherwise.'
She added: 'There needs to be very clear laws about what will happen. If the drug is re-classified it would be useful to have it topped up with education in schools about what the changes really mean.
'And it will also be interesting to find out whether a headteacher would expel a pupil found smoking cannabis, particularly if it is legal.'
Another supporter of decriminalisation is the Liverpool-based organisation HIT, which helps drug users throughout the North West.
Communications manager Kirsteen Sheppard said: 'The important point is that there has been absolutely no change in the law. Cannabis is still a class B drug and the maximum sentence for possession is still five years imprisonment.
'It's important not to mislead people into thinking it's okay to light up in the street.'
A spokesperson for the Drug Action Team based in Chester said: 'People involved in drug education and awareness need to make it very clear what changes will be made because there may be people who are prosecuted because they have not been informed, which means there could be difficulties during the transition.