The Mayor of London will launch a study on the feasibility of decriminalizing cannabis as part of a new approach to tackling drug-related crime.
Sadiq Khan has said he will establish an independent drugs commission in London to examine the potential health, economic and criminal justice benefits of decriminalizing the class B drug.
Polls show that almost two-thirds of Londoners and more than half of the UK support the legalization of recreational cannabis by adults.
If he were to be re-elected on May 6, Khan would be willing to consider supporting changes to the legal status of cannabis if that is what the commission concludes.
But he ruled out the decriminalization of Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
A source close to the mayor told the Guardian: “It will be up to the commission to consider the evidence during the round, but nothing is out of the question in the context of what is best for public health and safety. Londoners. ”
The London Drugs Commission would include independent experts from criminal justice, public health, politics, community relations and academia.
It will examine the evidence for the effectiveness of UK drug laws, police and addiction support services. He would report to the mayor with recommendations for town hall, government, police, criminal justice system, NHS and treatment services.
How countries around the world have approached drug-related crime will also be examined, including Canada, Uruguay and several states in the United States, where recreational cannabis has been legalized. In Spain, the private use of cannabis is permitted, while the Netherlands allows the sale of marijuana in cafes.
In Portugal, drug possession and use has been decriminalized since 2001, with an emphasis on improving treatment programs and better prevention, education and social support services.
Khan is expected to announce the commission as part of his mayoral election manifesto, released on Tuesday, in which he will say new ideas are needed to tackle illicit drug trafficking and that he believes too many young people are criminalized for drug use.
But that may put him at odds with the Leader of the Opposition.
The Labor leader recently spoke out against decriminalization and said current drug laws were “about right”.
But Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News there was “always room for a mature debate on how we handle these cases”.
The illicit drug trade in the UK is estimated to cost society £ 19bn a year, according to the mayor’s office. Around 41,900 people across England and Wales were charged with drug-related offenses last year.
Cannabis is a Class B drug, and it is illegal to possess or sell cannabis products containing THC, the psychoactive compound in the drug that makes you feel high.
Cannabis products that do not contain THC, but contain a second compound ‘CBD’, are legal in the UK.
Medicinal cannabis has been legal in the UK since the law was changed in November 2018.
It should be prescribed by a specialist doctor and is only recommended for a few medical conditions, including severe epilepsy.
Other conditions for which medicinal cannabis may be prescribed include the spasticity of multiple sclerosis and nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments.
While Khan can’t create new laws, he believes if the commission recommended decriminalizing cannabis, an approval from the mayor would give him a boost.
Khan, who has in the past called for “an evidence-based conversation” around cannabis, will say, “It’s time to come up with new ideas on how to reduce the harm of drugs and drug-related crime for women. individuals, families and communities.
“The commission will make recommendations focused on the laws that are most effective in tackling crime, protecting the health of Londoners and reducing the enormous damage that illicit drugs, including cannabis, do to our communities and our society.”
In 2019, the Commons All-Party Health Committee said adopting a health-based approach would benefit users and reduce damage and costs to the community as a whole.
He called on the government to consult on decriminalizing drug possession for personal use.
The Mayor’s Office-cited Survation survey, published in July 2019, found that 63% of London residents supported the legalization and regulation of cannabis, while only 19% opposed the idea. Across the UK, 47 percent supported legalization, and 30 percent against.