Sadiq Khan is planning a trial programme in London to 'decriminalise' minor cannabis offences.

The plan could divert young people caught with modest amounts of cannabis from being arrested by the cops.
Downing Street has raised alarm about Sadiq Khan's plans to halt prosecution of young people found with cannabis in select London boroughs as part of a pilot scheme.

The mayor of London is said to be working on a scheme based on a successful Thames Valley police model that would offer lessons or counselling to under-25s found with tiny amounts of cannabis rather than arresting them.

The plans for three boroughs to test the strategy are still in the works, according to Khan's administration, and they do not have the authority to totally decriminalise any substances. For policing and crime, the pilot has yet to get approval from the mayor's office.

Both Downing Street and Labour's leader, Keir Starmer, have stated that they do not support any further drug decriminalisation. Illegal narcotics "damage lives and promote violence," according to Boris Johnson's spokeswoman.

"We have absolutely no intention of decriminalising dangerous and toxic substances for recreational use," the official stated. Decriminalization will give organised crime more power while also risking a rise in drug usage, which fuels crime and bloodshed on our streets."

Starmer stated he would not support any modifications to the law, as first reported by the Telegraph. "I oppose any changes to the law or decriminalisation." He stated, "I'm absolutely clear about that." "But I'm very clear that we're not in favour of modifying the drugs laws," he stated, adding that he would "look at" the pilot Khan proposed.

"This restricted trial, which is still in development and has yet to be approved by City Hall, would cover three of London's 32 boroughs and would only apply to 18 to 24-year-olds found in possession of a tiny amount of cannabis," a spokesman for the mayor of London said. It would not be applicable to any other medication."

"The scheme's goal, which is currently being implemented by other police departments around the country, is to keep young people who are caught with a tiny amount of cannabis out of the criminal justice system and instead offer them with assistance and support." It has been proven that doing so reduces reoffending.

"The mayor's main priority is reducing crime, and he will continue to research and implement the best effective measures to help young people stay away from drugs and crime for good."
Khan's second term in office has focused on finding new ways to combat illegal drug consumption. He's commissioned an independent evaluation of the viability of decriminalising marijuana.

Though he lacks the legal authority to modify their status, he is anticipated to provide his support to any recommendations from the inquiry, including full decriminalisation if it is approved, which would likely start a larger debate.

The panel is looking into how countries throughout the world have dealt with drug addiction and use, including evidence from Portugal, where drug possession and consumption have been decriminalised since 2001.

The mayor will receive proposals for City Hall, the government, the police, the criminal justice system, and the National Health Service and therapeutic facilities.

According to the mayor's office, the illegal drug trade in the UK costs society £19 billion each year. Last year, around 41,900 people in England and Wales were charged with drug-related offences.