Downing Street said Boris Johnson had “absolutely no intention of legalizing cannabis” and insisted that controlled drug policy was a matter of central government.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton was asked by reporters how Mr Johnson is reacting to Sadiq Khan’s promise to set up a drug commission in London if re-elected.
Speaking to a briefing in Westminster, she said: “The policy on controlled drugs is a matter for the UK government and there are no plans to delegate that responsibility.
“The prime minister has spoken about this several times – illegal drugs destroy lives and he has absolutely no intention of legalizing cannabis, a harmful substance.”
Ms. Stratton added: “Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, will know that policy on controlled drugs is a matter for the UK government. It’s not about his office. “
Mr. Khan promised to bring together a group of independent experts on “fresh ideas” on drugs if he wins a new mandate in the May 6 elections.
These experts from areas such as criminal justice, outreach and public health will examine evidence of drug harm, support services and prevention, the effectiveness of existing laws, and tackling the root causes of crime.
Policy recommendations are expected to be made to the mayor for the town hall, police, health service and central government, among others.
The Guardian reported that, according to a source close to the mayor, Mr Khan would be willing to support changes to the legal status of cannabis if the commission agrees.
This view of the class B drug may differ from other members of his party after Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he did not support the decriminalization of cannabis possession.
However, Sir Keir said in February that initiatives that could issue warnings of low-level crimes “may contain something” and that there is “always room for adult debate” on the issue.
If re-elected, Mr Khan’s commission would build on research assessing the effectiveness of cannabis enforcement in combating violence in the capital.
Mr Khan said, “It is time for new ideas on how to reduce the damage drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities.
“The illegal drug trade is causing great harm to our society – it leads to serious and violent crime, harms people’s health and criminalizes too many young people.”
“So if I am re-elected, I will set up a new London Drugs Commission made up of independent experts to examine the latest findings from around the world.”
“The Commission will make recommendations that will focus on the most effective laws to fight crime, protect the health of Londoners and reduce the tremendous harm that illegal drugs, including cannabis, do to our communities and society.”
In an online manifesto launch Tuesday, Mr Khan pledged a “renewed focus on the safety of women and girls,” adding, “I will continue to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
“This means getting more cops out on the streets and opening up new opportunities for young Londoners.”
But he did not mention the Commission, but put jobs and the environment at the heart of his campaign.
“I am confident that with the right approach and decisions we can leave the dark days of the pandemic behind and deliver the brighter future that all Londoners want and deserve,” he said.
“At the heart of my plans are actions related to jobs, jobs, jobs.
“If we are to lay the foundations for lasting prosperity, we need to make sure no one is left behind. This means turning the tide on rising unemployment. “
He announced plans to create a “Green Skills Academy” to double the size of the green economy by 2030 and the number of green jobs in the capital to over 600,000, using the green new deal to support more than 600,000 135,000 Roles.
“We’re talking about good, high-quality jobs – jobs in the solar industry, jobs electrifying our bus fleets, jobs expanding our charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and a lot more,” said Khan.
“So my message to Londoners today is simple – a vote for me is a vote to support well-paid, green jobs in every single part of our great city.”
Mr Khan also said he would push for rental controls to be put in place and set a target for 10,000 new council housing to be built, with key workers standing first in the queue for thousands of new affordable housing.