London, Oct 2 : Cannabis use is less harmful than drinking or smoking cigarettes, according to a new UK report.
According to The Beckley Foundation's Global Cannabis Commission, the plan to ban the drug has backfired.
The commission has called for a "serious rethink" of drugs policy.
The ban has had little or no impact on supply and has turned users in to criminals, they say.
"Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," the Daily Star quoted them, as stating.
"Historically there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone.
"Many of the harms associated with cannabis use are the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment," they added.
Legalising cannabis would allow it to be regulated, and make it easier to stop children becoming users.
They write: "It is only through a regulated market that we can better protect young people from the ever more potent forms of dope, known as 'skunk'."
Cannabis was downgraded to class C in 2004, making police unlikely to arrest people carrying small amounts.
But Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has pledged to reclassifying the drug to class B to avoid "risking the future health of young people".