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Ex-police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe calls for review into cannabis law



The country’s former top police officer says it is time to carry out an “urgent review” of the UK’s cannabis laws.

Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe says the legalisation of cannabis in parts of the US and in Canada means it is time to look closely at the issue.

Lord Hogan-Howe, who was head of the Met Police from 2011 to 2017, was previously a supporter of strong laws banning the use of cannabis.

But he has softened his stance after carrying out an investigation for the Channel 4 show Dispatches.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was previously a supporter of laws banning the use of cannabis

It comes after the government relaxed the rules on the use of cannabis for medical purposes, so long as it is on prescription.

The peer said: “We already know from the evidence around the world that where people use it for medicinal purposes, it slides into recreational.

“Surely it’s better that we get ready for that potential change.

“I’ve not seen clear evidence to say change the law now. But I have seen clear evidence to say let’s review it, but in a time-limited way, not a kicking into the long grass way.

“I think we need to get on with it, now the government has made it easier to get medical cannabis on prescription.

“We’re lucky – we’re not the pioneers and we can learn from others’ mistakes. The evidence is out there and it shouldn’t be ignored.”

Doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis to patients in England, Wales and Scotland from 1 November for a range of conditions.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the government has “no plans to decriminalise recreational cannabis”.

He said: “The decriminalisation of cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery they can cause to families and society.

“Decriminalisation or legalisation would send the wrong message to the vast majority of people who do not take drugs, especially young and vulnerable people, with the potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs.”

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