Sadiq Khan has vowed to launch a new review examining the possibility of decriminalising cannabis as part of potential new ways to tackle drug crime in London.
If re-elected as the Mayor of London in May, Khan says he will set up an independent commission to examine the potential health, economic and criminal justice benefits of legalising the class-B drug.
The Mayor has ruled out the decriminalisation of class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine, but says he is willing to consider supporting changes to the legality of cannabis if the commission reaches that conclusion.
A source told The Guardian: “It will be for the commission to look at the evidence in the round, but nothing is off the table in the context of what is best for public health and keeping Londoners safe.”
An important step forward from @SadiqKhan. Drugs policy reform is long overdue.
We need to adopt a public health approach that makes reducing harm to users & communities our top priority.https://t.co/rUQHAldRIq
— Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP (@BellRibeiroAddy) April 6, 2021
If Khan chooses to support the legalisation, he could end up on a direct collision course with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who recently confirmed that he was opposed to decriminalisation.
Starmer told Sky News that current drug laws were “roughly right”, but said there was “always room for a grown-up debate about how we deal with these cases”.
Last month saw New York decriminalising the drug after state officials finalised a deal to permit casual usage and possession.
According to the New York Times, the deal will “allow delivery of the drug and permit club-like lounges or ‘consumption sites’ where marijuana, but not alcohol, could be consumed”.
The move was subsequently hailed as “incredibly exciting” by Jay-Z.
NME previously hosted a panel that explored the idea of legalising the drug in the UK, with the likes of Professor Green, Damian Marley and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb all taking part.