Khan pledges London drugs commission if re-elected

Jess Glass, PA
·2-min read

Sadiq Khan will establish a new commission to examine the use of drugs in the capital if he is re-elected as mayor of London next month.

The Labour incumbent has pledged to start the group of independent experts for “fresh ideas” if he wins a new mandate in the May 6 election.

These experts from fields including criminal justice, community relations and public health, 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.

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It would be expected to report to the Mayor with policy recommendations including for City Hall, the police, health services and central Government.

The Guardian reported that according to a source close to the mayor, Mr Khan would be willing to consider supporting changes to the legal status of cannabis if that is the view of the commission.

This view regarding the class B drug could differ from other members of his party after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he did not support decriminalising the possession of cannabis.

However, Sir Keir said in February there “may be something” in initiatives to issue cautions for low-level crimes and there is “always room for grown-up debate” on the issue.

Keir Starmer visit to Yorkshire
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Danny Lawson/PA)

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.

“That’s why, if I’m re-elected, I will establish a new London Drugs Commission comprised of independent experts to examine the latest evidence from around the world.

“The commission will make recommendations focusing on the most effective laws to tackle crime, protect Londoners’ health and reduce the huge damage that illegal drugs, including cannabis, cause to our communities and society.”