London’s most senior police officer said she is keeping a close eye on the legal cannabis sector in Canada and various U.S. states.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was being interviewed on BBC radio when a caller asked for her views on marijuana. “My own view is that we should watch what happens in the states and Canada – it is an interesting set of experiments,” she said.
Dick acknowledged that there are significant cultural differences between Britain and North America, but she said it is worth paying close attention to developments on the other side of the Atlantic.
However, the Commissioner said her personal view is that legalization of recreational cannabis could lead to “all kinds of problems”, including health issues. She also fears that organized crime groups currently profiting from dealing cannabis would launch different criminal enterprises if the black market for marijuana was eradicated.
However, she said she is prepared to see what happens in Canada. She also said she accepts that cannabis use is widespread in London and suggested that her force will aim to “lock up” people for possessing minor amounts.
The UK legalized medicinal cannabis last year and patients are finally starting to gain access to products after intense lobbying efforts.
Last month the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended Epidyolex for the treatment of two forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. Nice also gave the green light for British doctors to prescribe Sativex, a spray containing CBD and THC, to multiple sclerosis patients.
Local health authorities can now start funding treatment schemes with these products if there is enough room in the budget. Campaigners are still lobbying for patients with many more conditions to be granted access to cannabis.
Many Brits would like recreational cannabis to be legalized as a next step. A recent poll for the London Evening Standard found that 63% of respondents would back recreational cannabis use being permitted among British adults.
Some Conservative MPs are also keen to see it legalized and it will now be up to them to lobby their party after it seized a comfortable majority in last week’s general election.
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