WATCH Jeremy Corbyn hints at Labour rethink on personal cannabis possession

Posted On: 
1st July 2018

The debate on Britain's cannabis laws is "moving on", Jeremy Corbyn has said, as he signalled his own support for decriminalising "small amounts" of the drug for personal use.

The Labour leader said criminalising people for having "small" amounts of the drug was "not a terribly great idea"
Credit: 
Sky News

The UK's drug laws have come under fresh scrutiny in recent months after Billy Caldwell - a twelve-year-old boy who suffers from severe epilepsy - had his medicinal cannabis taken away by border officials, sparking a government review.

The case prompted calls for cannabis decriminalisation from senior political figures including ex-Tory leader William Hague and Mr Corbyn's predecessor as Labour chief, Ed Miliband.

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Mr Corbyn - who in 2000 signed an Early Day Motion urging the decriminalisation of cannabis possession - told Sky's Sophy Ridge that he stood by those views today.

He said: "I think criminalising people for possession of small amounts of cannabis is not a terribly great idea and does lead to great difficulties particularly for younger people in communities like mine. So I do think the debate is moving on."

 

 

However, the Labour leader said it was vital to "look at the health concerns of any drug that people take", warning: "No drug is without consequences when people take it.

“Personally I don’t take any drugs at all, and I think we should just think about it quite carefully."

Mr Corbyn's questioning of the current laws on cannabis possession marks a shift from Labour's previous position.

A party spokesperson told the BBC ahead of last year's election: "We do not support the legalisation of cannabis.

"Our goal is to see fewer people start using drugs, more people helped by treatment towards a drug-free life, and a reduction in the damage which problem drug users can cause to communities."

A government review of the way licenses are granted for medicinal cannabis is currently being carried out by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, although ministers have ruled out legalising the drug for recreational use.

The Labour leader urged the Government to make cannabis oil for medicinal use available "as quickly as possible".