A leading Tory MP who has entered the race to be London’s next mayor has called for cannabis to be legalised.
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Andrew Boff has claimed that making the drug legal would reduce knife crime and mental illness amongst young people who take powerful strains of the drug.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Boff said he would use his position as mayor to “bring regulation to an illicit drugs trade that is behind half of the murders in London.”
A member of the London Assembly, Boff has 40 years of experience in government. He said that whilst he would have no powers to change the drug laws himself, he would use the position as a platform to persuade Parliament.
“We are handing the distribution of cannabis to criminals and…putting young people at risk, both from knife crime as gangs fight for market share and from being exposed to black market drugs that are particularly dangerous to health.”
The call comes after NME’s symposium in Westminster last week (June 27), calling for the legalisation of the drug for medicinal use.
Damian Marley and Professor Green were joined on a panel together with Norman Lamb MP, American cannabis advocate Doctor Frank D’Ambrosio and campaigner Kate Rothwell, whose cousin Oliver has a severe form of epilepsy alleviated by cannabis oil.
Rothwell has launched a petition on Change.org calling for the legalisation of the medicine; it has so far received over 300,000 signatures.
Recently, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has intervened in the cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell to give their mother’s permission to legally use cannabis-based medicines to help with their treatment.
Although only a temporary order, Javid also announced a review would be set up to explore the medical use of cannabis further.
Speaking at the NME symposium last week, Norman Lamb MP said the decision was “significant”.
“I think last week was a very significant moment because it was the first time a government has reacted by saying: ‘We’re reviewing it.’ That’s not nearly enough, and we need to keep pushing them constantly to go the whole way, but that was a big breakthrough for this government to do that, and it was because children’s lives were seen to be at risk.”
Really good discussion on the powerful case for legalising cannabis with @kate_jane24, @professorgreen @damianmarley @DoctorFrankLive – thanks to @NME for hosting – good to welcome you all to Westminster pic.twitter.com/MyYToPIkKq
— Norman Lamb (@normanlamb) June 28, 2018
Meanwhile, Professor Green said older generations and tabloid scaremongering were to blame for the government’s reluctance to legalise the drug.
He said: “I think it’s a generational thing, to be honest, and I don’t think we have a very liberal attitude to much. What happens with that is you have a lack of education because things aren’t spoken about.”
“We’re less liberal when it come to many things when you compare us to other parts of the world, and what we get from that is many more problems.”
With damianmarley at parliament trying to bring about legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use – particularly in the case of epilepsy sufferers who don’t respond to medication. ?… https://t.co/F58nNxFaHe
— #GangGreen (@professorgreen) June 27, 2018
Green, who presented the acclaimed documentary Is It Time To Legalise Weed? last year also added: “If something’s underground, it’s not spoken about. It’s all the scare-mongering in the media. How many times do you see ‘cannabis psychosis’ in the newspapers?”
Speaking about the benefits of cannabis use at the event, Marley said: “We have a saying in Jamaica that: ‘The herb is the healing of the nation.’ With it becoming legal in various places, there’s now slowly more research that proves there is evidence of that.”