DRUG policy must be reformed according to the Newbury Labour Party, which is calling for an evidence-based approach. 

Michael Wakelyn-Green, a Labour campaigner who is studying a master’s in criminal justice, said a conversation is needed on decriminalising and legalising drugs. 

He said: “Drug policy is like a spider web that links many parts of society together: policing, prisons, knife crime fuelled by the illegal drug trade, drug-related homelessness and mental health issues.

“All these have a profound effect on our safety, communities and wider society.” 

Reducing knife crime and other violent crime could lead from drug policy reform, he argued: “Why are people stabbing each other? To protect their businesses—selling drugs.”

The Newbury Labour Party will submit a motion to the national conference in two weeks, calling for an evidence-based approach. Mr Wakelyn-Green said while it is unlikely to get through, it is important to start the conversation.  

He said the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform, which recently launched, is hoping to have a workable policy reading for January. 

In 2018, Thames Valley Police recorded 1,619 drug offences in West Berkshire and 2,422 in Reading. People caught possessing cannabis can currently face up to five years in prison. 

Despite this, the UK is one of the largest exporters of the drug in the world. According to the UN, in 2016 the UK exported 95 tonnes of legal cannabis, more than any other country. 

Mr Wakelyn-Green said people who smoke cannabis recreationally are ‘not a threat to society’ and ‘should not be criminalised’. 

Cannabis was legalised in the UK for medicinal use last year. However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which approves drugs for use by the NHS, has said it is unable to recommend doctors to prescribe cannabis, due to a lack of evidence.