As the competition to become next Labour leader heats up, all four contenders said they would look into the drug’s medicinal values, with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham initially saying the ‘benefits are enormous.’ Jeremy Corbyn, who has longed backed relaxing the laws, said he would also make medicinal use legal straight away, if elected the next Labour Prime Minister.
The leadership debate on Thursday came after the current government seemingly shelved the 200,000+ petition earlier on in the week. It was the first time the candidates were quizzed directly on the issue. Whilst Burnham said he appreciated the medicinal benefits of the drug, he did still leave himself a safety net (for want of a better word) with a measured response.
"But it would have to be highly regulated in my view to allow it for medicinal use only, and obviously that presents all kinds of problems.
"So I understand why people feel so strongly about it.
"I would proceed with caution but I wouldn't be averse to looking at whether, for medicinal purposes only, greater flexibility could be allowed.”
Corbyn told the debate in Gateshead: "It’s obviously very beneficial to people... and I think we should be adult and grown up as a society and decriminalise.
“We should look at drugs policy as a whole.” He later made it clear there was only in reference to medicinal use.
Liz Kendall was the least in favour, saying ‘many doctors are concerned about the problems, particularly for young people,’ before adding, ‘there should be proper trials because many people do feel strongly that it makes a difference.'