London mayor candidate calls for cannabis legalisation

A candidate for the Mayor of London job has called for cannabis legalisation to be trialled across the city.

Speaking on a panel hosted by the capital’s Evening Standard newspaper, Siobhan Benita said a trial of making marijuana legal would “make London a safer place”.

The Liberal Democrat contender was
joined on the debating panel by a former police officer and an ex drug dealer who
was jailed for possession.

Speaking at the Liberal Democrats’ party
conference in Bournemouth, the delegates all agreed that the UK needed to look
closely at decriminalising cannabis.

“This is a safety issue – a public health
issue,” Ms Benita told the audience.

“This is about keeping our young
children safe in London.

“I’m a mother of two girls, now aged 19
and 20.

“Teenagers will try drugs – a lot of
the time they don’t know what they are taking.

“A big part of regulating the market is you can regulate what is being sold.”

‘Off his head’

As discussion moved towards former UK
Prime Minister David Cameron confessing in his recently-published memoirs that
he “got off his head on weed” during his time at Eton College, the mayoral
hopeful said: “We know loads of cabinet members have admitted to smoking
cannabis but they are still prepared to say they will lock up others for doing
the very same thing?

“I think that is huge hypocrisy.”

The former civil servant and University
of Warwick graduate said she would approach the issue by legalising
low-strength marijuana while providing education to youngsters on the dangers
of drugs.

Another panel member – Joseph Kaz –
explained how he resigned as special constable in Camden when his own police
force began investigating him after calling for cannabis legalisation during an
appearance on the BBC’s Question Time program.

He suggested the police themselves were
unsure what their own policy on cannabis was.

 “It’s constantly changing,” he complained.

“What form, where these forms went, how
it’s processed – it’s confusing.”

Another panellist – ex drug dealer Niko
Vorobyov said legalisation made total sense from a policing perspective.

The former prisoner insisted that too
many people were “being
locked up for something that’s not much worse than alcohol”.

A recent poll – also led by the Evening Standard – found that 63% of Londoners supported the idea of making cannabis legal for recreational use.

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