A London mayoral candidate made headlines today when he voiced his open support of legalizing cannabis. The 79-year-old Lee Harris is running for mayor of London as part of the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA) party.
His party affiliation makes pretty obvious how he feels about marijuana. But he explained his stance on cannabis law today when he spoke to members of the press.
“London would be a happier place if cannabis was legalized,” he said. “If people smoke cannabis, they will drink less. Drinking is a terrible problem in this country and there is so much violence attached to it.”
Lee Harris went on to explain that legalizing marijuana would do more for England than just make people happier. He said legalization would also help undermine criminal activity by giving people a way to access marijuana without relying on the cannabis black market.
Harris also said that legalizing cannabis could help raise money for the government.
The report published in March said that legalizing marijuana could raise £1bn in taxes for the British government. Lee Harris thinks that figure would be closer to £2 billion. He said that money could be used to improve hospitals and create programs to help young people.
Residents of London will vote for their next mayor this coming week. The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservative Zac Goldsmith are favorites so far. But Harris’s open support of legalizing marijuana has helped keep the topic part of the ongoing political climate of the city.
According to new stats, there is growing favor for legalizing cannabis in England. A survey released in mid-April found that 47% of all people in the UK support the idea of making marijuana legal.
That number is a big step up from a year ago. A similar survey that was conducted in March 2015 revealed that only 32% of people in the UK thought cannabis should be legal. That upward trend has echoed in other parts of the world.
A new study found that support for legalized marijuana has hit an all new high in the U.S. Last year 58% of Americans supported it. But a survey published in late March found that 61% of all people in the U.S. now support legalizing cannabis.