Legalising cannabis would cut drugs war violence, council told
Lib Dems call for new approach on tackling youth crime
10 October, 2019 — By Richard Osley
Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Simon speaking at Monday’s all member meeting
LEGALISING cannabis could help cut violent crime on Camden’s streets by puncturing drug market rivalries.
This is the view of a Liberal Democrat councillor who has challenged the Labour-run council to explore support for legalisation.
Tom Simon, who represents the Belsize ward, was responding to Camden’s attempts to stem the violence which saw five people killed over the summer; three of whom died within a space of five days.
“This could be a game changer,” he told Monday’s full council meeting. “We have a government that, despite the growing volume of evidence that would support such a move, sticks with the war on drugs, the avoidable criminalisation of people, often young people, and the hypocrisy of cabinet ministers who admit to drug use themselves and yet they’re happy to lock others up.”
He added: “Of course, Camden Council doesn’t have the power to legalise cannabis but it’s time we look at what more we can do within the confines of the regressive national legislation we have.”
He suggested a debate on the issue at the next all-member meeting.
As the New Journal reported last week, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has warned black market dealers would still trade in skunk – a more potent form of the drug – if cannabis was legalised.
The council’s poster campaign introduced recreational cannabis users to ‘Ricky’, who is trapped working on a cannabis farm for dealers in Camden
Camden Council ran a guilt trip poster campaign at bus stops last year warning recreational cannabis users that they were helping to keep vulnerable young people enslaved in faraway drug market operations.
Labour council leader Councillor Georgia Gould, who has said she has never tried cannabis or any other form of illegal recreational drug, said “Our youth safety taskforce identified the grooming and exploitation of young people and an aggressive drugs market is a big part of this.”