Tuesday, January 18

UK. How the mayor of London wants to “help young people” by decriminalizing cannabis

Germany’s new ruling coalition announced its intention to legalize cannabis last November. At the head of its arguments: the filling of the State coffers but also the possibility of being able to control the quality of drugs sold in the country and thus “prevent the circulation of contaminated substances and protect young people”.

Today it is London’s turn to take a step in this direction. Sadiq Khan, mayor of the British capital, recently expressed his wish to attempt a cannabis decriminalization experiment targeting only Londoners between the ages of 18 and 24, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The idea being that young people under 25 controlled by the police in possession of small quantities of cannabis should not be arrested or prosecuted. Instead, they would be presented with practical solutions (psychology sessions, medical help, drug education …) to help them quit cannabis, according to London City Hall.

This test will first be carried out in three London neighborhoods.

“Helping young people to turn away from drugs”

Downing Street did not like the idea, however. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman blasted Sadiq Khan’s proposal, declaring that “drugs destroy lives and fuel violence”. “We do not intend to decriminalize hazardous recreational substances. Decriminalization would give the advantage to criminal organizations and risk increasing the use of drugs, which would lead to violence and crime, ”he added.

To which London replied that it was for the moment only a test in the capital. In the columns of Guardian, a spokesperson for Sadiq Khan clarified that this type of experiment had already been carried out in certain cities of the United Kingdom and that the idea was above all to “divert young people found in possession of cannabis from criminal justice by offering them help and support ”. “It has been proven that this reduces the risk of recurrence,” said the town hall of the capital.

Reducing crime is the mayor’s number one priority and he will continue to experiment with the most effective solutions to help young people quit drugs for good.

Spokesperson for the Mayor of London

In France, young cannabis smokers more exposed to unemployment, according to Inserm

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and unveiled on Wednesday shows that starting to smoke cannabis in adolescence could have harmful effects in adulthood, not only on health but also on professional life.

The results of the study, published in the January 2022 issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, indeed indicate that “people who declared having initiated their cannabis use at the age of 16 or before were approximately twice as likely to experience a period of unemployment as adults than those who never had consumed cannabis, ”notes Inserm.

Regarding young French people who started smoking cannabis after the age of 16, they would have 39% more risk of facing a period of unemployment than those who have never used this drug, stress the researchers.

“People who started their cannabis use at an early age would be three times more likely to experience several episodes of unemployment than those who said they had never experimented with cannabis,” according to Inserm.

Sadiq Khan also responded to critics accusing him of wanting to legalize cannabis in the capital, saying he did not have the power anyway. The mayor of London nonetheless commissioned the launch of a study carried out by independent experts in charge of studying the feasibility of decriminalizing this drug.

In France, a debate in the Assembly and a bill for legalization

Meanwhile, in France – the country where the most cannabis is still consumed in Europe – consumers, regardless of their age, remain subject to a flat-rate fine of 200 euros if they are checked in possession of cannabis. But this fine, which entered into force in September 2020, is not unanimous in the political class.

The decriminalization and legalization of this drug should thus be topics of confrontation of the candidates during the presidential campaign. A debate without a vote is also taking place this Thursday afternoon in the National Assembly. And from next week, the subject should return to the debate with the presentation by the rebellious France deputies ofa bill “On the legalization of the production, sale and consumption of cannabis under state control”. The text will be presented on Thursday, January 13.


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