London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared that it is time for a rethink of Britain’s cannabis laws in order to cut down on violent crime.

The London Evening Standard conducted a poll that suggested 63% of Londoners favour legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. It then interviewed Khan to gauge his thoughts on the issue, and the Mayor called for an “evidence-based conversation” around legalization and law enforcement.

Khan was previously opposed to adult-use legalization, but his stance has softened over the past year due to a rise in violent crime associated with drug dealing. “It goes without saying that I will continue to support the police to enforce the law as it stands, but all Londoners will benefit if we can start a conversation that leads to a reduction in violent crime,” he said.

Khan is a member of the Labour Party, while George Osborne – formerly one of the most senior members of the ruling Conservative Party – is the editor of the Evening Standard. The two men have not always seen eye to eye, but they appear to be pulling in the same direction when it comes to liberalization of Britain’s cannabis laws.

The UK legalized recreational cannabis use in October 2018, but extremely strict NHS guidelines prevent doctors from actually prescribing it. A handful of high-profile children suffering from epilepsy have been granted a special exemption and they are receiving the medicine they need, but the vast majority of patients are unable to gain medical cannabis.

Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, wrote a guest column in The Metro – another newspaper that is widely read across London – to lambast the government over the situation today. She said her organization is unaware of a single MS sufferer that has benefited from the decision to legalize medical cannabis.

She claims that there are at least 10,000 people that desperately need treatment for pain and muscle spasms, and she said they are “slaves to their symptoms” because they cannot access medical marijuana. Edwards called the situation “outrageous” and said MS sufferers are forced to turn to the black market or fund private prescriptions they cannot afford.

She said the government’s decision to legalize cannabis for medical purposes is a mere publicity stunt, and called on it to take action to improve patient access.

The UK is gearing up for a general election on Dec. 12 and the Conservatives are the odds-on favourites to seize a majority, but Labour is launching an insurrectionary campaign against dodgy landlords, big polluters, tax dodgers, rich media magnates in an effort to depose the Tories. Brexit is the main issue right now, but a change in government could potentially lead to a change in Britain’s approach to cannabis legalization.

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