By Roland Sebestyén
The newly re-elected mayor has no choice but to start delivering his promise and pave the way to have cannabis be decriminalised in London as soon as possible.
As part of his ambitious manifesto, incumbent Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to set up an independent drugs commission “to assess the potential health, economic and criminal justice effects” should cannabis be decriminalised in the capital city.
While cannabis has been gaining momentum across the globe, some claim more people get arrested for minor cannabis offences in the UK than ever before.
Furthermore, recent findings indicate that young, black men in the UK are around 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched for suspected cannabis possession than their white counterparts.
Politics aside, it is disturbing and something must be changed very quickly.
The fact is that despite No 10s warnings, Mr Khan, who is effectively the Police and Crime Commissioner in London, has all the powers to instruct Met officers not to arrest individuals for personal use and possession of cannabis.
Mr Khan could have single-handedly stopped the police to harass and arrest people, mostly young, black man, just because they smelt cannabis in London.
He chose not.
In an interview with Owen Jones only days before the elections, Mr Khan said he used to oppose cannabis decriminalisation but then he changed his mind.
He said: “I’ve seen too many young people criminalised for possessing a little bit of cannabis.
“I’ve [also] seen some of the health consequences of cannabis and its impact in relation to violent crime of the drug industry.
“I’m going to set up a London Drug’s Commission after the election which will have experts from a number of industries.
“I want them to go and look what’s happened oversees where they have decriminalised cannabis and then come and present me what their recommendations are.”
As we have reported, while the Independent Office for Police Conduct recommended that police officers should stop carrying out stop and search measures based on smelling cannabis, in reality, the measures are still in full swing across the country.
The fact that it’s still an issue 21 years into the 21st century, in one of the leading countries of the Western World, paints a damning picture of the UK and Europe as a whole.
This is why Mayor Sadiq Khan must set up the independent drugs commission first thing in the morning.
We’ve got no time to waste anymore; a thorough cannabis reform into recreational use and possession has been long overdue either way.
With his win in the local elections, Mr Khan hit the wall. The electorates have spoken, and it is time to change London and Britain as a whole for the better – you can only imagine the impact if London were to choose to go with decriminalisation.
It would most certainly be a truly game-changing moment for the continent and could convince more cities and countries to join in the party.
Western Europe is thought to be on the brink of a cannabis revolution, but it feels sure as though everyone is just waiting for the others to make the first move.
The UK has always been proud when it came to lead the world (Europe) in inventions.
Sadiq Khan has all the powers to be the hero of the day.