Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a London Drugs Commission to look at the effectiveness of cannabis legislation, the mayor’s office has announced. The commission will be chaired by former lord chancellor Charlie Falconer QC and made up of independent experts and ‘leading figures from the fields of criminal justice, public health, politics, community relations and academia’.
The aim is to gather international evidence on best practice in terms of public health, prevention and criminal justice responses, the mayor’s office states. While it will consider other drugs besides cannabis it will not be looking at class A drugs, and University College London will assess the health, legal and economic implications for any potential policy changes.
Khan is currently on a fact-finding mission in the US as part of an ‘international evidence-based approach to reducing drug-related harm in the capital’, his office states, including a visit to a Los Angeles cannabis dispensary and meetings with licensed cannabis growers and representatives of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and city council. Cannabis arrests in California have fallen by more than half since the state legalised recreational use of the drug in 2016.
‘The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society and we need to do more to tackle this epidemic and further the debate around our drugs laws,’ said Khan. ‘We must learn from others when considering our approach, and by examining the latest evidence from around the world and the world-class research from UCL, Lord Falconer and the commission will make recommendations to improve our approach to cannabis to help tackle drug-related crime, protect Londoners’ health and reduce the huge damage that illegal drugs cause to our communities.’ However, a spokesperson for shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has stated that Labour drugs policy ‘is not devolved to mayors’ and would be set by national government – ‘Labour does not support changing the law on drugs.’