Monday 14 October 2019 6:05 pm

Liberal Democrats mayor of London candidate wants to decriminalise cannabis

City Hall will decriminalise cannabis in the capital under a Liberal Democrats mayor of London.

Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrats candidate for next May’s mayoral election, said she would decriminalise the drug if elected by creating new guidelines for the Metropolitan Police.

Read more: Liberal Democrats mayoral hopeful Siobhan Benita says ‘we can win this’

She would also lobby the government to use London as a trial on cannabis legalisation.

The policy was released as a part of her five-point plan to reduce knife crime.

Other measures include creating a “young mayor of London”; setting a goal of ending permanent exclusion in state schools; introducing a “youth happy hour” after school that involves more community activities and appointing police liaison officers for every secondary school.

Benita said marijuana decriminalisation would “remove the power from criminal gangs”.

“I will end the failing ‘war on drugs’ and instead wage war on the criminal gangs and the drug lords,” she said.

“It’s time we legalise the cannabis market, decriminalise possession of cannabis and create a far more supportive approach to people who are suffering from addiction.”

Benita accused current mayor of London Sadiq Khan on failing to deal with increasing rates of knife crime in the capital.

There were 110 people fatally stabbed across the capital in the first nine months of the year.

She said creating more trust between communities and police officers would go some of the way to solving the problem.

“That means stopping the closure of our local police stations, appointing a police liasion officer at every secondary school, building positive relationships with primary schools, and ensuring that police remain visible at the heart of our communities,” she said.

Read more: London Night Tube crime rates soar in 2018-19

“Sadiq Khan has promised action on some of these areas but has failed to deliver.”

A spokesperson for Khan said: “Sadiq Khan will take no lessons on policing from the Lib Dems who are responsible for the massive cuts to our police and youth services which have hit London’s communities so hard.” 

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