It’s not often One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson and London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan agree on anything, but both have indicated their support for decriminalising recreational cannabis use this week.
While Hanson told Sky News’ Paul Murray Live she was firmly in the No camp when it comes to legalisation, she did say she was in favour of decriminalisation “so it doesn’t [mean you] have a criminal record”. She also said she “believed” in medicinal cannabis “for health reasons”.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports Khan, currently locked in a re-election battle, plans to launch a review of cannabis laws as part of a new approach to tackling drug-related crime when he unveils his manifesto this week.
Should he emerge victorious on May 6, the mayor would establish an independent drugs commission to examine the potential health, economic and criminal justice benefits of decriminalising cannabis.
The commission, made up of independent experts from the fields of criminal justice, public health, politics, community relations and academia, would examine how other countries have tackled problems with drug use and addiction.
Although he has ruled out the decriminalisation of class-A drugs such as heroin and cocaine, Khan is willing to consider supporting decriminalising cannabis if that is what the commission recommends.
“It will be for the commission to look at the evidence in the round, but nothing is off the table in the context of what is best for public health and keeping Londoners safe,” a source close to the mayor told The Guardian.
According to a recent poll, 63% of Londoners back the legalisation and regulation of cannabis, while 19% are against. Across the UK as a whole, 47% back legalisation, with 30% against.
Although London’s mayor does not have the power to introduce new laws – and Labour’s national leader Sir Keir Starmer remains in favour of the status quo – The Guardian said Khan believes a mayoral endorsement would give decriminalisation a boost should the commission recommend it.