The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for a government rethink on the restrictive laws and policies surrounding cannabis.
Sadiq Khan has been serving as the mayor of London since 2016. Prior to that he was the Member of Parliament for the district of Tooting, London. During his time in office, Khan has become well-known known for his work on reducing knife and gang-related crime in the City of London.
Earlier this month, he proposed a rethink on the current laws on cannabis in the UK. While cannabis is currently legal for medicinal use in the UK, it remains illegal for recreational purposes, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
During an interview with the Evening Standard Mr Khan disclosed that it was time for an 'evidence-based' discussion regarding the legalisation of cannabis.
"It goes without saying that I will continue to support the police to enforce the law as it stands, but all Londoners will benefit if we can start a conversation that leads to a reduction in violent crime," Khan said.
"The time is right for our society to have an evidence-based conversation about cannabis" Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Currently, those caught in possession of cannabis can face up to five years of jail time, and this can rise to fourteen years if the courts can prove that the cannabis was being produced for sale.
However, a recent report by the Metropolitan police claims that recorded offenses of cannabis possession has been declining every year since 2017, which saw a total of 28,358 arrests for possession, and 672 for possession with intent to supply.
A report from the Members of Parliament on the Commons Health Committee— released at the end of October—proposed a government conference on decriminalising the possession of cannabis for personal use.
The report argued that decriminalising the drug would allow the money currently being used by the criminal justice system for the punishment of cannabis offenders can be used towards prevention and drug addiction treatment.
According to the Commons Health Committee, there has been a decline in the overall use of drugs among young adults. However, it's not all good news, as the fall in cannabis use has been accompanied by a noticeable rise in cocaine use.
The UKs national crime agency reported that heroin and crack cocaine are the most frequent drugs that are being currently supplied by gangs and dealers.
The Mayor has shown his public support in regard to medicinal cannabis and has said "the government needs to move much quicker to relax the overly strict laws"
Sadiq Khan's open minded approach has impressed many, and the British public are eagerly waiting to see if his "discussion" will result in further progress towards the decriminalisation of cannabis. If it does, then he's got my vote for his next term!
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