Reports That I Plan To 'Decriminalise' Cannabis Are Greatly Exaggerated, Says Khan

Reports That I Plan To 'Decriminalise' Cannabis Are Greatly Exaggerated, Says Khan
someone with blue finger nails fires up a joint
Reports that Sadiq Khan plans to 'decriminalise' cannabis are not exactly true, says the Mayor of London — but he does have a pilot scheme in mind. Image: Shutterstock

Recent reports that Sadiq Khan is planning to 'decriminalise' cannabis in London are greatly exaggerated, the Mayor of London has said.

Responding to recent media speculation that he plans to decriminalise the Class B drug, Khan issued a clarification. Instead, he wants to trial a scheme in three London boroughs (Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley), in which people aged 18-24 found in possession of a small amount of cannabis would be offered help via a 'drug diversion' scheme, rather than face prosecution.

Similar schemes — in which offenders are offered support services and informative courses — have already been piloted by police forces in the UK; the Thames Valley Drug Diversion Scheme saw 40% of adults complete their course — 10% more than the national average for community resolutions.

Says a statement from Khan's office: "The idea... would be to divert young people who are found with a small amount of cannabis away from the criminal justice system and instead provide help and support. This has been shown to reduce reoffending."

The statement also points out that as Mayor of London, Khan actually has no powers to decriminalise drugs.

The trial could be officially announced as early as this month, but it's yet to be approved by City Hall.

Last Updated 05 January 2022