‘Tough on taxpayers!’ Sadiq Khan savaged for ‘swanning off’ on US tour of cannabis factory

Sadiq Khan: Starmer allegations a million miles from PM's actions

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The Mayor of London travelled to the US earlier this week where he praised the “high standards” of legalised cannabis farms in the US. He announced the formation of a new group to consider the decriminalisation of the drug in Britain. Former Justice Secretary Lord Charlie Falconer QC will be the chair of the first London Drugs Commission, which will look at the effectiveness of UK drug laws.

The four-day trip has been billed as a “fact-finding mission” to investigate an international evidence-based approach to cracking down on drug-related harm in the capital.

But Mr Khan’s trip to the US and comments have sparked fury back at home in the UK, both from leading Conservatives and his own Labour Party.

On Friday, Mr Rees-Mogg rebuked the London Mayor for going “swanning off around the world”, branding the move “tough on taxpayers”.

During an interview with LBC, the Brexit opportunities minister raged: “Who’s paying for his fare? Is that a good use of taxpayers’ money?”

“The precept for the GLA (Greater London Authority) goes up and up and he goes swanning off around the world.

“It’s all hunky dory for him but it’s a bit tough on taxpayers.”

Mr Khan’s tour of a cannabis factory and eye-catching photoshoot among the plants in Los Angeles have also raised Labour Party eyebrows.

Official party policy opposes against any liberalisation of drug laws, who even put out pre-election attack adverts, highlighting how the Liberal Democrats want to decriminalise the drug.

One Labour source told Politico the London Mayor was “high on his own supply” and described him as “a suit who hasn’t got any ideas.”

Mr Khan’s own party also distanced itself from the plans proposed by the London Mayor, once again insisting it “does not support changing the law on drugs”.

A spokesman said: “Drugs policy is not devolved to mayors and under Labour would continue to be set by national government.”

Earlier this week, Mr Khan visited a cannabis dispensary and farm in LA to explore what lessons could be learned in the UK in responding to the challenges of drugs.

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He told the PA news agency: “We need to have an honest, open conversation about the evidence in relation to the history of cannabis and our laws in the UK and our experience of the health consequences in relation to crime and the community.

“The best way to do that will be with the drugs commission we’ve now set up.

“You can hear from the experts, that’s one thing, but seeing it for yourself, hearing from those who cultivate and grow this plant has been fascinating.”

But Home Secretary furiously hit back at Mr Khan’s plan to consider whether cannabis should be decriminalised in the UK, insisting he has “no powers to legalise drugs”.

In a rebuke on Twitter, Ms Patel said: “Sadiq Khan’s time would be better spent focusing on knife and drug crime in London.

“The Mayor has no powers to legalise drugs. They ruin communities, tear apart families and destroy lives.”

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