There aren’t many things that London mayor and the Adam Smith Institute see eye to eye on, but the legalisation of cannabis may just be one of them.
Following his trip to a Los Angeles cannabis farm, Sadiq Khan announced that he would be setting up the London Drugs Commission, which looks at decriminalising the Class B drug in the UK.
Describing the visit as “fascinating”, Khan has been vocal about his desire to have a more “open conversation” about weed usage in the UK, with around 2.6 million Brits enjoying it each year.
Speaking to City A.M., Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) Daniel Pryor praised the mayor’s comments, stating that his decision to set up the commission is “on the money”.
For the ASI, the conversation about cannabis isn’t about decriminalising, but legalising: embracing all the economic and social benefits that can be realised as a result.
To Pryor, this means cutting down on the illegal market, educating, reducing drug-related violence and generating tax revenue for the government.
While Pryor said that the Home Secretary Priti Patel was probably correct in saying the mayor lacked the power to legalise drugs, he said the true power lies in Khan “starting a national conversation, which you don’t really see at such a high level of politics”.
“What I’m excited about is that Khan is being a loud and prominent champion for change”, he added.
Last year, the main recorded drug offence in England and Wales was the “possession of cannabis”.
California legalised the recreational use of cannabis in 2016, and collected more than $800m from tax on marijuana in 2021.
University College London has been selected to provide research and analysis on the implications of any potential change in drug policy, excluding the use of Class A substances.