London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he will establish a commission to look at the use of drugs in London if he is re-elected next month, as part of a new approach to tackling drug-related crime in the capital.
Khan believes there is widespread public support for decriminalisation, citing polls showing nearly two-thirds of those in London support legalising cannabis for adult recreational use.
The Labour politician is looking to set up a new commission to look at the use of drugs in the capital if he is re-elected and is reportedly open to sweeping rule changes.
Speaking to The Guardian, a source close to Khan said “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,”
The proposal will form part of Khan’s wider mayoral election manifesto, published today. If re-elected, he has promised to set up a group of independent experts from fields including criminal justice, community relations and public health. The group will examine evidence on the harms of drugs, support services and prevention, the effectiveness of current laws as well as tackling the root causes of crime.
Earlier this year, the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in an interview that he wasn’t in favour of decriminalising cannabis, but that he was open to “grown-up debate” on the issue. Despite the Labour leaders comments, a report by Labour Campaign For Drug Policy Reform shows that 53% of people in the UK are in favour of a health-based approach to drugs.
If re-elected, the work of Mr Khan’s commission would build on research assessing how effective cannabis enforcement is at tackling violence in the capital.
Mr Khan said: “It’s time for fresh ideas about how to reduce the harms drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities.
“The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society – driving serious and violent crime, damaging people’s health and criminalising too many young people.”