By Roland Sebestyén
Only hours after parts of the Mayor’s plans regarding decriminalising cannabis in London have been leaked to the national media, Sadiq Khan addressed the issue in a public statement.
As we reported this morning, a leaked proposal published in the Telegraph revealed that cannabis use and possession will be decriminalised in three London boroughs – Lewisham, Bexley and Greenwich – with the potential of eventually being extended to the whole of the city.
It was reported that drug users found in possession of cannabis and other Class B drugs –ketamine or amphetamines, for example – will be offered counselling or awareness courses instead of facing arrest, and in many cases, prosecution.
The leaked report – or at least part of it – has named the Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, as the head of this project.
While London Mayor Sadiq Khan has issued a statement to confirm some aspects of the report, he also found it necessary to clear the air and tell the public more about the pilot scheme.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “This limited trial, which is still in development and has yet to be approved by City Hall, would involve three of London’s 32 boroughs and would only apply to 18-24-year-olds found in possession of a small amount of cannabis. It would not apply to any other drug.
“The idea of the scheme, which is already used by other police forces across the country, would be to divert young people who are found with a small amount of cannabis away from the criminal justice system and instead provide help and support. This has been shown to reduce reoffending.
“Reducing crime is the Mayor’s top priority and he will continue to explore and implement the most effective solutions to help to divert young people away from drug use and crime for good.”
The Mayor’s office also stated that the Mayor himself – as he has no legislative power to do so – won’t decriminalise cannabis, in contrast to those reporting otherwise.
It was added that Mr Khan “will establish a London Drug Commission of independent experts who will examine the effectiveness of our drugs laws, with a particular focus on cannabis.”