Sian Berry, the Green candidate for Mayor, has pledged to change the failure of policies around drug use.
One of Sian Berry’s mayoral pledges is to deprioritise the policing of cannabis in London, including an immediate stop to using just the smell of cannabis to justify stop and search.
The policy aims to direct drug users away from the criminal justice system and instead create “a real public health approach to drug use in the capital”.
London’s drug-related deaths are currently at their highest level in two decades, and Sian’s manifesto commitment would include access to free drug safety testing and treatment focused on medical-grade heroin prescriptions for users most at risk.
City Hall figures show that in London Black people are almost four times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people. Sian Berry pointed out that “the experience of young Black men on the streets of London is they are constantly suspected of drug offences when in actual fact they’re even less likely to be taking drugs than white young men. It’s just utterly disproportionate.”
Ending stop and search for cannabis would “fix the heart of a lot of the disproportionality of policing. That is what we’re hearing from communities.”
Sian said she would be arguing to fund new drug interventions on the basis that it is “investing in communities, investing in people, investing in wellbeing”.