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Mayor appoints drug czar to review cannabis legalization UK News

Sadiq Khan has appointed Lord Charlie Falconer to head a London Drugs Commission which will examine the potential benefits of legalizing cannabis.

The commission will be made up of independent experts from the fields of criminal justice, public health and policy who will examine the effectiveness of UK Class B drug laws and the potential for harm reduction among users.

University College London (UCL) will lead research for the commission on health, criminal justice and the economic impacts any policy changes could have.

The announcement was made during a visit by the Mayor of London to Los Angeles, California, which legalized cannabis in 2016.

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Mr Khan visited a cannabis dispensary where he spoke to retailers, law enforcement and local government officials about the impact of legalization in the US state. Cannabis-related arrests have dropped 56% in California since the drug became legal in 2016.

The Mayor of London said “we need to learn from others when considering our approach ‘to drugs laws’ and that the new London Drugs Commission – headed by Lord Falconer – will make recommendations on cannabis laws” to help tackle drug-related crime, protect Londoners’ health and reduce the enormous damage that illegal drugs cause to our communities”.

Mr Khan said: “I am delighted to announce that Lord Charlie Falconer QC will be the chairman of the first-ever London Drugs Commission. As a highly respected QC and former Justice Secretary, Lord Falconer brings decades of experience.

“The illegal drug trade is causing enormous harm to our society and we need to do more to fight this epidemic and move the debate around our drug laws forward. That’s why I’m here today in Los Angeles to see firsthand their approach to cannabis.

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The creation of a London Drugs Commission to examine the benefits of cannabis legalization was a key pledge in Sadiq Khan’s manifesto during last year’s mayoral re-election campaign.

In October last year, experts giving evidence to the London Assembly’s health committee accused City Hall of ‘dragging’ when it comes to tackling the harms of drugs.

Experts told the committee that more focus was needed on class A drugs and that harm reduction methods such as drug consumption rooms and drug control should be considered in the capital.

Green Party Assemblywoman Caroline Russell, who was then chair of the health committee, said on Thursday that the mayor’s Drug Commission “completely ignores the impact of Class A drugs; the one of the main factors causing drug-related harm and death”.

Ms Russell said: ‘The mayor’s own announcement says there were 4,561 deaths related to drug poisoning in 2020; Refusing to review Class A drugs means that no progress will be made in reducing the health damage and deaths these drugs cause.

“I again urge the Mayor to act on the recommendations set out in the Assembly’s report, Reducing Drug Deaths in London. Measures such as overdose prevention rooms, drug testing services and requiring the police to carry life-saving naloxone to tackle overdoses would reduce the impact of harmful drug use in London and support some of the most vulnerable people. London’s most vulnerable.

Sadiq Khan stressed that Class A drugs would fall outside the jurisdiction of the London Drugs Commission.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-16 14:40:02

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