Making a Difference - National

Making a Difference highlights the power of news media titles to campaign for positive change. Earlier this week, an online vote was held to determine which local and national campaigns from the past year are the public's favourites.

The winners will be announced on Friday 9 October. Browse the local campaigns here

Making a Difference

The Cannabis Debate

The Evening Standard’s 2019 campaign The Cannabis Debate by David Cohen asked a simple question with profound social, health, economic and criminal justice implications for society; is it time to make cannabis legal in the UK?

The Standard commissioned a poll which showed that public attitudes have shifted sharply away from criminalisation, with 63 per cent of Londoners backing legalisation and only 30 per cent against it countrywide. 

Cohen travelled to countries and states that have legalised cannabis. He visited grow houses and cannabis retail outlets and spoke to politicians, dealers, consumers, testers, and medical and criminal justice experts. The Standard also interviewed London cannabis dealers and reported on how legalisation could affect their lives.

They conducted interviews with the police on the link between cannabis drug dealing and knife crime due to turf wars and reported their view on how legalisation might improve public safety. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for "a major rethink on cannabis laws", crediting the Standard's reports. The Commissioner of Police Cressida Dick has also softened her stance and said the legalisation of cannabis in Canada is "an interesting experiment that needs to be watched."