HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Boris Johnson Calls for Cannabis Legalisation
Pubdate: Fri, 25 Apr 2008
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Telegraph Group Limited
Author: Rosa Prince
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


Boris Johnson has become one of the first senior Conservative Party 
politicians to call for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use.

In an interview for Telegraph TV, the candidate for London mayor 
responded to a question from a reader about his personal views on the 
use of marijuana by sufferers of chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Mr Johnson said: "I have thought about this for a little bit, but I 
haven't looked at all the evidence and talked to the police about it 
in a way I would before giving more than an extempore answer.

"However, I do think there is a case when cannabis is being used to 
alleviate severe and chronic pain that the law should be flexible."

The comments will irritate his senior Tory colleagues.  Two weeks 
ago, David Davis, the shadow home secretary, described government 
policy as being in "chaos" amid reports that Gordon Brown was 
considering reclassifying marijuana as a Class B drug.

Yesterday, Mr Johnson also vowed to clean up London politics as he 
answered questions from readers of a week before 
polling day. He fielded queries about law and order, the Olympics and 

However, it was the topic of Ken Livingstone, and Mr Johnson's claim 
that the Labour Mayor has mismanaged the capital and squandered 
taxpayers' money while running a "corrupt" administration, that 
dominated the exchanges.

Asked how he would reduce the size of local government in London and 
cut red tape, Mr Johnson said: "I am going to make some sensible 
economies at City Hall by axing some of the current mayor's loony 
tunes expenditure - like the European fund for Marxists and anarchists.

"He has absolutely no concept of taxpayer value, which is why on day 
one, I am going to do the following - put every pound that I spend on 
behalf of the people of London on the web, so that the public can 
consult it, and we end the disgraceful cronyism and corruption of the 
current system."

Asked about the increasing cost of the Olympics, Mr Johnson again 
criticised the mayor and his campaign chief, Tessa Jowell, the 
Minister for the Olympics and London, saying: "I will not allow 
Londoners to pay a penny more for the Olympics, and I will ensure 
from day one that we have proper financial controls and accountability.

"Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone are simply not adequate protectors 
of the public purse."

The Conservative candidate accused Mr Livingstone of having a secret 
plan to put up fares on the buses, trains and the Tube, while 
promising that he would transform London's transport system.

Mr Johnson said: "Above all, I will not deceive the London public 
about fares. It is an utter scandal that this mayor is going into the 
election on a promise not to raise bus and Tube fares - when it has 
just emerged that he has secretly agreed they will have to go up.

"He is treating the voters and the travelling public with contempt."

Meanwhile, Mr Livingstone appeared to entertain for the first time 
the prospect that he will lose the election - and even offered his 
rival advice on becoming the new mayor.

He said: "If I don't win, come May 6 I will be taking the kids to 
school and starting a book on my last eight years as mayor.

"Boris, because he has never been a council committee chairman or 
chair of a local authority, or involved in any other local 
government, would still have a lot to learn even after the election. 
My advice would be don't rush to make rapid change." 
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