LABOUR heavyweight Sadiq Khan is pushing ahead with a review into decriminalising cannabis – despite the threat to kids’ health in California.
Legalisation of the illicit substance led to a huge spike in health scares as fears raised over sweets, cookies and cakes were laced with the drug.
The warning comes as leading shadow Cabinet Ministers expressed their fury at the move made by the London mayor on a trip to Los Angeles.
Shocking figures reveal nearly 600 calls were made for treatment advice from the California Poison Control System in the year after the US state voted to decriminalise the drug – up from 347 three years earlier.
Half of the raised alarms over ingesting the drug, some 256 cases, involved children under the age of five with 38 cases of those aged 12 months and under.
Health chiefs warned that marijuana was finding its way into food with teenagers finding their parents’ pot stash or youngsters not knowing the food is doused in the drug.
The figures were revealed in the aftermath of California legalising cannabis for recreational use in November 2016.
Home Secretary Priti Patel was quick to criticise Mr Khan after he made the announcement on the trip saying his time would be “better spent” tackling drug and knife crime.
She said: “The mayor has no powers to legalise drugs. They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives.”
On his visit, he spent time at a shop selling products infused with drug and a cannabis farm.
Official statistics show that 2.6 million people in the UK used cannabis in the twelve months to March 2020.
Possession of cannabis was the main drug offence in England and Wales last year, figures show.
Susan Hall, Tory spokeswoman for policing and crime, said: “The challenges facing London will still be waiting for him, when he’s back from his hazy trip.
“I don’t see how the Mayor of London leading the charge on legalising marijuana, is helping the many families and communities devastated by the murder of their young people.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society and the Mayor believes we need to do more to tackle this epidemic and further the debate around our drugs laws.
“The London Drugs Commission will examine evidence from around the world to help inform the capital’s approach to responding to drug-related harm.”
Sources said at no point has the Mayor pledged to decriminalise drugs which he doesn’t have the power to do.
Sort out the knife crimes in capital
By Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister
Knife crime cuts too many lives short – often young kids – and leaves a trail of broken hearts behind.
Having met the families of some of those killed, I know these victims are not just statistics – they are people’s beloved daughters and sons, and they need someone to feel responsible.
There are simply no positives to carrying a knife and I have made promises to the families of victims that I will do everything in my power to drive down this senseless violence.
From putting more cops on the streets – 13,500 already and 20,000 by next year – to funding more programmes to direct those at risk away from crime.
Since this government was elected in 2019, a staggering 50,000 knives and offensive weapons have been removed from our streets through stop and search, surrender initiatives and other police action.
Operation Sceptre, which launches tomorrow, will see thousands of officers from all forces across the land, laser-focused on removing knives from our streets.
Every weapon seized is a life saved. But we must do more.
I continue to push the police to be even more dogged in fighting knife crime.
So we are giving them more powers and resources to track down those known to have carried previously.
But we cannot ignore the intrinsic link between this violence and drugs.
Almost 50% of murders are linked to drugs in some way.
So I find it baffling that just last week, the Mayor of London thought it appropriate to stage a photoshoot in a cannabis farm in LA, to reiterate his support for the legalisation of this entry level drug.
I profoundly wish he would focus on knife crime and violence taking place in the capital instead.
Later this week, I will be hosting a National Drugs Summit to focus hearts and minds on clamping down on this scourge, because fundamentally drugs ruin lives – they aren’t props for a photo shoot.
This Government won’t let up in this fight against knife crime.
We will make sure that our kids can walk the streets safely and parents can sleep soundly, knowing they will make it home.